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                     CAUSES OF ANOREXIA NERVOSA
IN ADOLESCENT POPULATION IN THE U.S

 

INTRODUCTION

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In
this modern world where one’s physical appearance is considered as the most
attractive thing about someone it is of no miracle that society today is
suffering from eating disorders. There exists today a specific standard of
beauty that considers mainly fat people “ugly”. Most of the people mainly the
adolescents always try to maintain this standard of beauty sometimes even going
to extreme measures to do so.This extreme measures often include refusal to eat
to the point of death. This disorder is called Anorexia Nervosa.” Anorexia
nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person intentionally limits the intake
of food or beverage because of a strong drive for thinness and an intense fear
of gaining weight. This can happen even if a person is already thin. 1 ”

This
topic is of most relevance today as more and more people are falling victim to
this disorder. More research is needed to find out the exact causes of this
disorder hence and hence to find a specific remedy to tackle this ever-growing
case of Anorexia nervosa and associated health problems. The main focus of this
research is the adolescent population because of all the age groups it seems
that this particular age group is the most vulnerable to anorexia nervosa.
Mainly because adolescents are constantly exposed to the beauty standard of
society mainly through films, film stars who have given out a wrongful
perception that if you are not thin, you are not considered up to the beauty standards.
The adolescent populations especially the girls fall prey to the anorexia nervosa
although many boys are also affected by this.

 

Research Question

1
What are the causes of the Anorexia Nervosa in the adolescent population in the
U.S?

 

 

METHODOLOGY

Various
databases such as PubMed, Google scholar, ScienceDirect were used to identify
the relevant articles for this research. Initial search using  the 
keywords “anorexia nervosa” “adolescent” resulted in around  Ten thousand results and exclusion criteria
was introduced to narrow  down the results.
From the narrowed down topics Inclusion criteria was used to find the articles
more specific and meeting the criteria for requirement for the purpose of this
research. Inclusion criteria were based on population as the focus of this
research is on adolescent age group (11-20 age). Other inclusion criteria such
as region, research methods were used to narrow down the articles furthermore.
After going through the remaining ten articles, five of them (all from the U.S)
were selected because they met the quality criteria and were included in this
research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINDINGS

Obsessions
about one’s body image and weight will eventually lead to tedious eating
routine which will have devastating effects on both the mind and body and more
alarmingly in severe cases even resulting in death. It is common for people
with anorexia nervosa to make food for people but they never ever eat it.Anorexia
nervosa affects not only the one suffering from but his friends, peer and most
importantly his family. The reluctance of the affected individual to have food
to the point of starvation will have severe psychological distress on the family.
In the last 20 years there has been a steady increase in cases related to
anorexia nervosa. What is significant about this increase in the cases is that
majority of the cases are associated with in the age group of 11-20. Approximately
90 percent are women between 12 and 20 years of age 2.Anorexia nervosa is pre
dominant among teenagers in upper and middle class. Most of the teenagers
associated with this disorder have similar body language. They are mostly
withdrawn, perfectionistic, extremely hardworking and always strive  to reach the maximum output in whatever
activity they indulge in.Many of these teenagers have a low self-esteem about
their body image. This may be a result of body shaming my fellow peers or even
family. Affected individuals are always trying to lose their weight through
very rigorous dieting methods although their weight is completely normal and
healthy. When they lose their weight they will have a false perception of
control over their life and will be more confident. But this confidence and
misconception comes with a price; their health. Since adolescence is the age
where the body needs more intake of food anorexia nervosa affected teens will
have severe health complications when they reach adulthood. Over the course of
time these habits in turn will lead to other problems such an anxiety and
depression. “Psychologists or therapists help children with eating disorders
cope with negative behaviors, distorted thinking patterns and any underlying
issues that may have triggered the condition.” 3

 

 

CONCLUSION

Anorexia nervosa is caused by a
variety of factors in adolescents. “These factors are sometimes divided into
predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors that make a person
vulnerable to develop, trigger the onset, and maintain the eating disorder,
respectively” 1.In majority of the cases 
this disorder starts as a diet method or as part of a healthy lifestyle
but sooner or later it develops into extreme fatal weight loss. “Social attitudes
toward body image, family influences, genetics, and neurochemical and
developmental factors may contribute to the development and maintenance of
anorexia nervosa”1,3,4.A person whose has a family history of anxiety,
bipolar disorder or depression is predisposed to anorexia nervosa and many
other eating disorders. Recent studies have shown that the brain function of
the people with anorexia nervosa is different than that of a normal brain.
Although a person may be obese it doesn’t mean that he will never ever be
diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. This is more important in cases of obese
children and teenagers. Their obesity itself will be a primary factor in the
cause of anorexia nervosa itself as they will be bullied in school or college
about their body.Hence parents of children with obesity should never override
the chances of their children developing anorexia nervosa. They will lose their
self-esteem and will develop a negative body image forcing them to often skip
meals to lose weight and often this will eventually lead to anorexia nervosa.
The period of adolescence is of one of the most confusing period in one’s life.
The physical and mental transformation is too overwhelming for some of the  teenagers, this convoluted with a feeling of
self-consciousness, low self-esteem about one’s own body are all key factors
which lead to Anorexia nervosa in them. In the adolescence the teenagers are
constantly under pressure to find their place in this hostile world and they
try their best to live up to societies standard and therefore succumbing to
anorexia nervosa 5.Most of the time affected adolescents come from families
extreme levels of stress. Adolescents involved in Sports which are
associated  with the level of leanness such
as ballet dancing, skating and gymnastics have a higher incidence of developing
anorexia nervosa and a lion’s share of them are adolescent girls. Over the due
course of time many adolescents eventually end up using this anorexia nervosa
as a coping mechanism to create a misconception that they are in control of
their life after they face difficulties and failures in their life, academics
or any other personal issues. When this attempt for control goes too far the
chances of anorexia nervosa causing serious health concerns in the patient increases.
It can be concluded that the anorexia nervosa in adolescents is caused by many Psychological,
social, personal and even genetic factors. Additionally peer pressure and body
image anxiety are extremely maximized during adolescence and are probable risk
factors in developing Anorexia Nervosa.

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