Anorexia Nervosa

Allie Klein

Psychological Disorders

A psychological disorder is a disorder of the mind, it revolves around thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that cause distress to the people affected and those around them. There are many categories that psychological disorders can be filed into.


Anxiety: This disorder consists of a general condition of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It occurs in response to what is usually an imagined danger, an imminent event, or something with a certain outcome. Can be shown through many things, such as the desire to do something (something abnormal) or panic attacks.


Mood: This disorder is characterized by the lifting or lowering of a persons mood. Mood disorders are rather common, and examples lie in depression and bipolar disorder.


Dissociative: The separation of feelings, memories, or emotions, occurs in this disorder. The separation is usually due to an involuntary escape from reality. Dissociative is the state of being disconnected.


Somatoform: This disorder is expressed through physical symptoms that cannot be explained with a cause or illness, they cannot be explained by a medical professional. The symptoms are not fake and can usually lead to pain.


Schizophrenia: Lost of contact with reality is the best way to describe this disorder. It is a long term disorder involving the breakdown between thought, emotion, and behavior, which results in a faulty perception. This faulty perception can lead to inappropriate actions and feelings, the withdrawing from reality and personal relations, and a leap into fantasy. Hallucinations and delusions can occur.


Personality: This disorder typically occurs around adolescence and lasts throughout life. It consists of a deeply engrained pattern of some kind which can lead to difficulties in relationships and the overall functioning in society. An unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning, and behaving is common in personality disorders, people with these disorders often have trouble relating to others.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa, commonly referred to as anorexia, is a psychological disorder that falls under the title of "Eating Disorders". It is a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder that is characterized by self-starvation along with intense and excessive weight loss. But not only is it the loss of weight, but the fear of gaining it. People who suffer from this disorder place controlling their weight and shape high on their list of importance, and use extreme measures to do so. These extreme measures usually lie in the reduction of calories. It varies from person to person, but research has shown that most of those who struggle with the disorder only eat around 500 calories a day compared to the typical 2,000, but if they are unable to keep their intake this low they typically misuse laxatives, diet aids, and exercise. Vomiting after meals is another common tactic. And although it sounds like it revolves around food, this disorder is commonly an unhealthy way to cope with emotional problems, thinness equates to self-worth. Symptoms of this devastating disorder include...

- Extreme weight loss

- Thin appearance

- Abnormal blood clots

- Fatigue

- Insomnia

- Dizziness or fainting

- Bluish discoloration of the fingers

- Thin, breaking hair

- Soft, downy hair that covers the body

- Constipation

- Absence of menstruation

- Dry or yellowish skin

- Self-esteem overly related to body image

- Inability to appreciate the severity of the situation

- Skipping meals

- Only eating a few "safe" foods (usually low in calories)

and so on. Anorexia is more common in young women, but can occur in both men and women of all ages (men make up about 10-15% of those who suffer from the disorder). Teens are most susceptible, shown by it being the third most common long-term illness amongst teenagers. The general population is even susceptible if they have the disorder in their genes, or if a first-degree relative had the disorder. Anorexia is sadly the most common cause of death among women ages 15 to 24, this is approximately 12 times higher than any other condition, making it both common and deadly. Not much has changed in our understanding of Anorexia, not much except treatment plans, which I will discuss in my next text box. But typical treatment plans aren't all someone with this disorder needs, sometimes they just need to know someone understands, someone like Troian Bellisario. The famous Pretty Little Liar star suffered from anorexia and is now open about her struggles. She says "I felt this sadness, and I thought if people really knew what was going on inside me, they wouldn't want to hangout with me. So I tried to keep it light and funny. I became imprisoned [by my eating disorder and self-harm]. And it was something I fought with." This feeling is common in those with Anorexia, and although it's saddening to know someone else struggles like them, the understanding is needed. Overall, Anorexia is something people fight with everyday, it is something long-lasting and it is something terrifying, but it is also something people everywhere learn to live with with the right treatment and help.

Treatment

Treatment plans include a variety of options, such as...

- Making an appointment at a place like the Mayo Clinic where they have experience with Anorexia and aim to help

- Seeing a doctor

- Regular counseling sessions

- Gaining weight

- Nutrition counseling

- Therapy (typically cognitive so that new ways of thinking and behaving can be formed)


these treatments differ a lot from the "eat and move on" philosophy the world had regarding Anorexia before a greater understanding was achieved. Now we see that medical and psychological help is much more beneficial. But, unfortunately, there is no sound cure for anorexia, patients will go through treatments and get significantly better, but the disorder will never be gone. Everyone suffering from Anorexia is recommended to seek treatment and help, for the disorder is life threatening and that part is 100% preventable.

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