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Anorexia Nervosa And The Role Of The Court

3094 words - 13 pages

Several pertinent factors favor enacting a law that would force an individual with a severe eating disorder to receive help. No matter what their age, whether eighteen, twenty-four, or thirty-six, people can still reach the point where they are so sick that the disease has taken over their ability to think logically.

My heart is slowly breaking and searching for the answers as my sister seems to get sicker and sicker. I am helpless, yet I have a truth within me, the knowledge that a higher power has a plan etched in stone for each one of us. I believe my Heavenly Father has a beautiful plan, not only for my life, but also one for my sister. Right now she is merely a piece of broken ...view middle of the document...



Anorexia Nervosa is a psychiatric illness that is most often seen in teenage girls and young women. The pervasiveness of anorexic females ages 15-19 was about 0.5% as of 1998. In women ages twenty to twenty-four, the figure was about 0.25%, but the disorder is still a medical concern in this age group. The disease has been found to last more than 4 years on average, but a few stay permanently sick. However, the death rate is high for mental sicknesses (Vandereycken and Beumont 130). Treatment of eating disorders is challenging, especially when the victims are not willing to admit that they have a problem. Because anorexics realize they will be forced to gain weight upon starting treatment, they strongly refuse to receive treatment. As the disease gets progressively worse, so does the fear of treatment. People suffering from anorexia have this intense fear of, and trouble trusting in, relationships, because they know they will lose any control that they feel they have, and because most of the time they are strongly determined to take care of themselves. Combined with these factors are their perfectionism and marked mood swings; the ability to make rational decisions vanishes from the picture.



Anorexia usually takes its toll on girls who are the "perfect ones." Everything in their lives seems to be in order, on schedule, and, literally, perfect. They are rarely disobedient, usually high-performance athletes, and almost always top of their class. Far too often these girls resort to an eating disorder because they are striving to retain some control of their lives. Often in these cases the girls have had their lives planned out for them since birth, so this is their attempt to plan a piece of it themselves. So often these girls have missed some essential part of being a teenager, such as being "bad," having slumber night pig-outs, and just letting loose. They have failed to learn how to express their feelings, and they have never been able to establish a sense of independence. Their desperate need for something to uphold and be proud of and claim as their own is manifest in their ability to control their food intake. Controlling every calorie consumed becomes a matter of sheer pride and gives them a sense of self-worth and accomplishment when they have achieved the "perfect" body (AABA). This habit turns dangerous, and often deadly, when the image of the "perfect" body becomes so distorted that they drop to fifteen percent below the normal body weight and still feel overweight. Their goal suddenly gets farther and farther away, and they increase to the point of starvation their efforts to reach it.


An eating disorder has complex origins. Although most people think that an obsession with weight and appearance leads to this deadly disease, this is merely the surface issue. Along with the ultimate need for control, other causes can be genetic factors, parental influence, behavioral influence, environmental...

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