Anorexia Nervosa Victims In American society women are given the message starting from a very young age that in order to be successful and happy, they must be thin. Anorexia is on the edge, it is not surprising given the value which society places on being so thin. A person suffering with anorexia nervosa has an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of their weight and body shape. People with this illness believe themselves to be fat even when their weight is so low that their health is in danger. A person with anorexia nervosa severely restricts food intake and usually becomes extremely thin.

Anorexia nervosa is defined in a book as an eating disorder characterized by weight loss beyond the normal range (Lemberg 2). The term "anorexia nervosa' literally means nervous lose of appetite. Researchers have been trying to understand why this problem has increased over the past twenty years in our society. The man Romeo said ." Today's women alters' their body by dieting to achieve a thinner appearance, society's current standard of beauty ' (Romeo 17. ) Would people rather live to eat or eat to live? What causes anorexia nervosa to happen to certain people? Sometimes this can occur from having the inability to stop dieting (Lemberg 3. ) Also a remark from anyone about weight or appearance from a person in there life could contribute to the problem.

Apparently in women who overeat or under eat, there has often been a childhood background of profound deprivation and emotional deficit. Such individuals learned in their families that they were not wanted, worthwhile, or valued. They did not learn to ask for help or to expect their needs to be met. They did not learn healthy ways to handle conflict, difficult emotions, or disappointments.

They have not learned that the solution to loneliness is to seek friendship. Such individuals may have been severely abused in their homes and have no knowledge of awareness of the abuse (Katherine, 1991, p. 52). This type of woman may have been screamed at as a child when she expressed a need.

She has become accustomed to fear. With such a background, the food addict is a person who expects to only have minimum needs met. She has learned that her needs will probably go unmet, even if she asks, and she adapts. The needs for affection, trust, safety, and honesty do not go away, but they move underground and surface in the adaptive response of food difficulties. Most people who suffer from eating disorders have severe, long-term deprivation in regard to their emotional needs. Along with a tragic occurance such as a death in the family, divorce, or illness can be a leading cause (Lemberg 3.

) This could send them down the wrong path. The researcher Lemberg said "Causation is very complex and may not always be known specifically or identified. Psychological exports discovered that no one event causes anorexia nervosa' (Lemberg 3. ) Another cause is there are magazine advertising and television that show the image of attractiveness and thin models are everywhere. Lots of People are starving themselves in an effort to obtain what the fashion indrusry considers to be the ideal body image. An average female weight of a model weighs 23% less then the recommended weight for the average person.

Keeping a weight 20% less then what is expected fits the criteria for the eating disorder anorexia nervosa (Pirke & Ploog, 1984). According to researchers most models fit in this category (Garfinkle& Garner, 1990). The most common cause of anorexia in a women is an incorrect self perception of her weight (Pirke & Ploog, 1984). Our magazines and advertisements need to show the ideal body image and vary in a wide range to help our society decrease this stereo type and help the health of our people. Another factor contributing to anorexia is the need to obtain perfection. A perfectionist desires excellence in all aspects of their life.

When they can't achieve perfection they feel they should punish themself by starvation. These people realize that can control there weight like the power they have over there bodies so this continues until they are in endangered. A lot of people who are suffering with this disease anorexia are people between the ages 15-20 years old. Colleges and universities around the country are reporting an increased prevalence of eating problems among young female students (Hesse-B iber, 1989, p. 71). The young female student with eating problems feels worthless and inadequate.

She has a poor sense of personal control. She may be hypersensitive and feel merged with others. There are many different symptoms of someone who is suffering with anorexia nervosa. The disease slowly developed over a period of months to years during which the sufferer changes her eating patterns to a very restricted diet. They have a fear of becoming over weight and see's themselves as fat even when they are extremely thin (Pirke & Ploog, 1984).

Some physical signs are intolerance of cold due to the absence of the body's natural fat, dizziness and fainting spells, dry skin, loss of muscle, and the most obvious, a drastic weight loss. There are also behavioral changes in a person when they becomes anorexic including restricted food intake, odd food rituals, an increased fear of food, hyperactivity, and dressing in layers (Romeo 18. ) Anorexics feel as if they are heavier than the others around them, and believe the fastest way to loose weight is to stop eating. The effects of anorexia nervosa are very severe. It can cause changes externally, internally, and psychologically. The external changes include obviously dramatic weight loss, rotting teeth, dry skin, fainting spells, hair loss, and growth of fine body hair on face.

The internal changes include loss of menstrual cycle, infertility, headaches, swelling, loss of bone density, kidney infections, liver damage, constipation, diarrhea, cramps, poor circulation, dehydration, and low blood pressure. Psychologically, the anorexic suffers with isolation from others, mood swings, insomnia, low self esteem, fatigue, depression and self hatred (Pirke & Ploog, 1984). From these different facts that appear to you and can effect you from starving your self why do people do it. Thats what many different researchers ask themselves.

There are many support groups out there trying to help people who are suffering with anorexia. The Anorexia Bulimia Nervosa Associated Disorders are major organizations in the fight against these disorders. These groups are paving the way for research and new and better treatments. Some physicians hospitalize anorexia patin a more safe and secure setting. The most urgent concern of the physician is getting the patient to eat and gain weight. As a patient learns more about their condition, they are more often willing to try to help themselves recover.

In treating anorexia nervosa you have to remember that immediate success does not guarantee a permanent cure. Anorexia Nervosa is very treatable with earlier d ection and a comprehensive treatment plan the successes rates are high. It is more treatable then cancer so we urge people to help others who are suffering or get help (Cove 1998).