Adding to the background of anorexia

Adding to the background of anorexia, it was seen as a rare eating disorder that was not looked upon until the 20th century. From when it originally began and following to today’s time, it took a long time for the public to become aware of the disorder. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “Anorexia nervosa usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood.” This disorder falls mostly between ages 12 and 25. The book Demystifying Anorexia Nervosa: An Optimistic Guide to Understanding and Healing by Alexander R. Lucas talks about his experience at the Mayo Clinic and offers his advice on how an individual can overcome anorexia nervosa. He guides patients through the process of recovery. Lucas states, “At that time she received a “B” on a math test, the first time she had received less than an “A” that year. She was disappointed and angry with herself. She felt that she must be getting “fat and lazy.” (6). Based on this, one of the factors that can lead a female into this illness comes from social influences. Females could be influence by peers or the stress of schoolwork. Some people spend hours on school work sometimes that they forget to eat. Given to the fact that they are spending two to three hours either laying or sitting down doing homework, it is viewed as a factor of laziness that can cause gain weight. Therefore, eating isn’t looked as a necessity and thus it starts the development of this eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is more common today than a century ago, leading to it being one of the three main eating disorders in the world today.
In addition to the history of anorexia nervosa, the causes of this eating disorder play a major role in their mentality. This is important to examine because people with anorexia are often using food and eating as a way to gain control when parts of their lives are stressful or overwhelming. According to Eating Disorders: An Encyclopedia of Causes, Treatment, and Prevention, “The causes of eating disorders are multifaceted and usually include a combination of psychological, familial, sociocultural, and biological or genetic factors rather than a sole determinant of the disorder. “(103). When it comes to the psychological causes of anorexia many individuals often have low self-worth, low self-esteem, and strive for perfectionism. Having a low self-esteem usually leads to having some negative perceptions of one’s physical appearance. Feeling uncomfortable with the body you have can cause you to start the journey towards anorexia because there’s the fear of not being good enough or looking to “fat” to be seen. Some people might think that others view them as to overweight and therefore, causing them to try to do anything in their power to get those other people to look at them as thin. which if you have the need for perfectionism, that often causes anorexia as well. For example, appearing as a perfectionist in your appearance often leads to you having thoughts on how to have the perfect body or how to continue looking pretty in everyone’s eyes. In Jane Hu’s Reality Hunger: On Lena Dunham’s “Girls” is about what girls is meant to represent in its story telling, which is the supposed growth and development of young middle-class American girls living in New York City. It’s about how Girls focused on realism and how Hannah sees herself as the voice of her generation. Hu states, “A Meal is an opportunity for Hannah’s parents to tell her “No. More. Money.” (and by extension, no more food). When the waiter asks if they would like more of anything, Hannah’s mother drives the message home and speaks on her behalf: “No, she’s fine (386). This suggests that familial factors play a role of the causes as well, because her parents don’t want her to eat anymore. Most of the time when one of my family members mentions me gaining weight and saying that I need to lose it, I then wish to lose that weight that they said I had gained because more often than not I take my families words over anything. Sometimes a parent might say a comment that they don’t mean, but what they don’t know is that the kids taking everything that they say to heart. Therefore, if my parents told me that I looked ugly and that I was way over my weight, then I would do anything I could to look good in my parent’s eyes again. Family is often blamed as the cause of their child’s eating disorder because of the way they comment on the child’s image. The same could be said about the other factors as well.
Along with psychological and familial factors, sociocultural and biological or genetic factors are two of the other causes of anorexia. These factors play a role in the causes of AN that are often harmful. The article Causes of eating disorders by Janet Polivy and Peter C. Herman talks about how anorexia and bulimia nervosa have emerged as the predominant eating disorder. They review research evidence pertaining to the development of these disorders. Polivy and Herman state, “Not surprisingly, the media are often blamed for the (increasing) incidence of EDs, on the grounds that media images of idealized (slim) physiques motivate or even force people to attempt to achieve slimness themselves” (192). Based on this, sociocultural factors include media. Media is often blamed for a lot of things, but where it does come into play more often is in eating disorders. When watching television, some ads show females or males looking a certain way. It’s what we aren’t used to seeing. For example, sometimes a female appears on screen and she is a model, who looks thin and pretty. Models are meant to be thin and adding to the fact that the model is pretty too, it can influence individuals to what their bodies to look like that of the model. Body image is significantly more negative when viewing thin media images. Typically, media portrays unrealistic images f oh a female and a male. According to the Eating Disorders: An Encyclopedia of Causes, Treatment, and Prevention states, “Thus, these studies have revealed that eating disorders are much more common in families that have biological relatives with eating disorders in comparison to the population at large. This in part supports the notion that genetics plays a role in the presence of an eating disorder” (107). This suggests that biological and genetic factors are present in anorexia. Having twins proves that there is evidence to show that if one of the twins has an eating disorder, the other twin will most likely have it as well.
As a consequence of the causes of anorexia nervosa, the symptoms of this eating disorder are significant for friends and family to know the warning signs. When knowing what symptoms someone you know has, it will be easier to better identify what is going on with them and get them the help they need. In the article “Anorexia Nervosa” by Evelyn Attia, and B. Timothy Walsh, mentions how Rachel, a 19-year-old college freshman, was brought by her parents for psychiatric evaluation after they said that Rachel had lost 16 lb. since her precollege physical the previous August. After her weight fell, many thought she had an eating disorder. Evelyn and Walsh declared, “Minnesota study of semistarvation that documented the association between starvation and the development of psychological symptoms frequently identified with anorexia nervosa, such as depression, anxiety, obsessionality about food, and rigidity about eating behaviors” (1807).
At this point, anorexia nervosa starts affecting the individual more severely. The individual begins to have negative reactions to food and begins acting differently to friends and family. In the film, Eating Disorders: Mind, Body, and Society, by the Films Media Group is about eating disorders having one of the highest mortality rates of all psychiatric conditions. The three-section program explores possible underlying biological bases for eating disorders; considers sociocultural influences on young adults and questions to what extent eating disorders may originate within the family structure. The Film Media Group reports, “they wake up every morning worrying about what they’ve eaten the day before and what they are going to eat today.”
As a result, anorexia can affect the family as well as the individual. It is important to examine this because typically family is the number one support system, and people battling this disorder tend to push family away. In the article, “An Integrative Review of the Literature on how Eating Disorders among Adolescents Affect the Family as a System – Complex Structures and Relational Processes” by Rakel Eklund and Martin Salzmann-Erikson, is about describing how eating disorders among adolescents can affect family relationships. Also, to clarify how the relationships and roles change within the family. Eklund and Salzmann- Erikson added, “However, when an adolescent is affected, it is not only the individual who is affected; the illness also affects the whole family and their daily lives” (213).
When it comes to anorexia or having any type of eating disorder, I didn’t expect for it to affect one of my own family members. When I heard that my nephew was going through something I didn’t think it would have been anorexia nervosa. In the article, “An Overview of Anorexia Nervosa in Males,” by Tom Wooldridge and Pauline Lytle, it talks about how even though anorexia nervosa is thought as a female disorder, most concepts of male AN emphasize a single etiological factor and therefore produce treatments that fail to address it as a global phenomenon. There is this understanding that research on the familial, biological, cultural, and psychodynamic elements involved in male AN encourages treatment that comprehensively address the disorder. Lytle and Wooldridge acknowledged, “Now, evidence increasingly suggests that our society encourages a problematic body shape model in boys too. In popular culture, male bodies are presented as a muscular and trim” (372). It illustrates how anorexia may be viewed as only a female disorder to some, but males can get it as well. There is not sufficient focus on males who have anorexia because this disorder is commonly seen as that of a female. At first, I had a little information that males can get anorexia, so when my cousin mentioned Juan having some kind of problem I didn’t automatically think of this disorder. I started slowly putting together the signs because I would take care of him, and he wouldn’t eat like he used to. Plus, he only drinks water and always looks so depressed. I would put it off as a teenager issue, but then he started saying he hated his mom, and couldn’t look at her because of her weight. That was when I told my mom that maybe he has anorexia. Now that I look back on it, he has changed so much and has lost so much weight. Not only does this disorder affect him but its affecting the family as well. My nephew doesn’t let in besides his dad, and it doesn’t help that his dad doesn’t want anyone to know. How is it that a 13-year-old kid who does not have a mean bone in his body, get this. I hate seeing my family have to go through with this and not be able to help as much as I would want to. I never thought that one of my family member would ever go through something like this.
When it comes to eating disorders, there are a variety of treatments available.