Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a serious issue that affects many people globally. The important question we must ask ourselves is “how can society work to reduce the rates of anorexia and other eating disorders?” To be able to answer this question we must understand what anorexia nervosa is, how many people it affects, its causes, and its effects.

Anorexia nervosa, or more commonly known as anorexia, is a mental and physical illness that causes a person to want to lose weight and keep it off. A person may do this by starving themselves, skipping meals, heavily restricting meals, and or over exercising in an attempt to lose weight. Not everyone with anorexia is underweight, in some cases the effects of anorexia may be a life threatening low pulse, low blood pressure, and deranged electrolytes in the blood.

Anorexia, in most cases, causes people to create a bad relationship with food and have a warped idea of how their bodies should look. No matter how much weight they lose and how thin they become some anorexics believe that they are still too big or that that is not the ideal body type for them. Some more symptoms of anorexia include thinning bone structures that may lead to osteoporosis if too serious, lack of menstruation, anemia, and organ failure.

Anorexia develops in 0.9% of females and 0.3% of males in the United States as well as 1.9% of females and 0.2% of males in Britain. Anorexia nervosa is credited to have the highest mortality rate amongst psychiatric illnesses. In America only about one third of people with anorexia nervosa actually obtain treatment. According to Mirasol Recovery Centers, 18 to 20% of anorexics are dead in twenty years. Anorexia and bulimia care states that about 20 to 40% of deaths related to anorexia nervosa are suicides.

Though the exact causes of eating disorders are not known there are factors that make them more prevalent in certain societies. Anorexia may be more likely to occur if a person’s family has a history of eating disorders, depression, alcohol or drug addictions. If they have been criticized about their weight, have anxiety, depression, low self esteem, or are a perfectionist they may be more susceptible to anorexia. Personal genetics, hormonal issues, and societal beauty standards also play a part.

Personally, I believe that we can reduce the rates of anorexia by not idolizing the super-thin super-fake super-photoshopped women and men we see in the media. I believe that idolizing natural bodied people will help to begin the decrease amount of people being diagnosed with anorexia. If we change who we see in the media I believe that people’s ideas of the ideal body type will change with time. Once ideas change the future generations are better off. Adults won’t comment on their children’s weight or force a stereotypical gender beauty idea on them. I believe that children will no longer tease other kids for being too fat or for being too thin.

As of now (January 2019) I see that the media and the rest of my generation feels the same way as I do concerning the artificial body and are working to change that. More plus sized models are coming forward and claiming the label of beauty. However it is good, body positivity for plus sized people are causing people to make fun of the thin kids, the girls with no “curves.” I believe that in the future people will be able to realize that all bodies are good and natural bodies are beautiful not matter what shape or size. This body positivity will reduce the number of anorexics that have been pressured by society’s beauty standards. I don’t think we can totally eradicate anorexia nervosa but I do think we can significantly reduce the amount of diagnosis.

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