Eating Disorders

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate December 2001

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Anorexia Nervosa is a disorder in which someone refuses to eat, causing psychological and endocrine problems. It almost always affects adolecent white girls, with symptoms involving a refusal to eat, large weight loss, a preoccupation with food, hyperactivity, and many others. If the disease is caught early, the patient can be diagnosed and treated in time, Unfortunately about 10 to 15 percent of anorexia nervosa patients die, usually after losing at least half of their normal body weight.

Anorexia nervosa patients usually come from white, middle to upper middle class families that care a lot about high achievement, perfection, eating patterns, and physical appearance. A case of anorexia nervosa has never been documented in a black male or female.

In striving for perfection, a person with anorexia may begin to diet in order to lose just a few pounds. Nobody is really sure what triggers the disease process, but the afflicted person usually does not think that loosing five to ten pounds is enough.

It is not uncommon for a person to starve herself until she weights only 60 or 70 pounds. Throughout that starvation process they either deny being hungrly or say that she is full after eating just a few bites.

Another related form of anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder known as bulimia. The syptoms of this desease include purging, eats a lot of food and then purges and makes themselves throw it back up. Usually they vomit immediately after eating or through the use of laxatives.

Most researchers agree that the number of patients with anorexia nervosa is increasing. Studies have shown that out of every 200 American girls between ages of 12 and 18, one will develop anorexia to some degree. While most anorexia patients are femal, about six percent are males. Occasionally the disorder...