Anorexia Nervosa and Pressures on Young Teens
Social Studies Fair
January 22, 2007
This research paper is about anorexia nervosa. The paper describes the definition of anorexia. It explains the symptoms, how to diagnose it, and all of the health problems that anorexics will develop. The ways it is treated is also talked about. The paper shows the ways that teenagers are affected by different pressures which may be part of the cause of getting anorexia.
Information for this research paper was found through the internet from medical journal articles and a real interview from a 38 year old woman who had anorexia when she was 13 years old.
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Anorexia Nervosa has both emotional and social causes which affect young teens during a time in their lives when they are very sensitive to social and peer pressure.
Anorexia Nervosa is described as an eating disorder in which those affected intentionally starve themselves, losing at least fifteen percent of their normal body
weight (Hirst, J., 1998). MedicineNet, an internet database, describes anorexia as an eating disorder which symptoms include depression, withdrawing from friends, extreme tiredness, heart and stomach problems, kidney problems, and their skin may become flaky with brittle nails, and they may lose their teeth.
There are many symptoms for anorexia, and some people may not experience all of these. These include body weight that is not right for their age or size, which is usually about 15% below the normal weight. They may lose 3 menstrual cycles, refuse to eat in public, become extra worried and stressed, become very weak. Their skin becomes very dry and brittle, trouble breathing, and obsessed over the amount of calories they eat. Warning signs include throwing up after meals, fainting, over-exercising, denying their problem, and calluses on the knuckles from forcing themselves to throw up their food.
Teenagers do a good job of hiding their weight loss by wearing lots of clothes that are baggy, so parents their parents won’t notice their weight loss.
For a doctor to diagnose a person with anorexia, they have to follow the book of guidelines for mental disorders. The following are symptoms the anorexic must have to be considered a real anorexic.
A weight loss of at least 15 percent.
Scared of gaining weight and being obsessed with this fear.
They look fat when they look in the mirror, but in reality they are not. This hurts their self-esteem and confidence. Even though they are starving to death, they cannot see this.
They will not have at least three menstrual cycles.
According to Stoppler and Shiel, “Most of the medical complications of anorexia nervosa result from starvation.” Many organs in their bodies are affected very badly by anorexia. These include effects on the heart and circulatory system, stomach, the organs that make hormones, kidneys. They may also get low on their electrolytes, and have low iron.
The heart is affected by a very slow heart rate, low blood pressure, and the heart rhythm is messed up.
Stomach and intestinal problems from anorexia include constipation, stomach pain, and food tak4es longer to get into the body. Starvation and using pills to cause them to use the bathroom will mess up the way the body gets rid of wastes.
Hormones are affected which causes the anorexic to not have their menstrual cycle. This can affect their chances of getting pregnant and their bones may not grow right. If anorexics continue to starve themselves, the thyroid organ in the body will slow down to save calories to try to prevent the person from starving.