A Hard Habit to Break!


What is Anorexia Nervosa?
• Anorexia nervosa, in the most simple terms, is selfstarvation. • Anorexics feel there is a serious disturbance in the way they feel about food, weight, and body image. • Anorexics are also often characterized as stubborn, vain, appearance-obsessed people who simply do not know when to stop dieting.

How do Anorexics see life?
• Food and eating dominate the life of a person with anorexia nervosa. • Body weight and shape become the main or even sole measures of self-worth. • Maintaining an extremely low weight becomes equated with beauty, success, self-esteem, and self-control and is not seen as a problem. • People with an eating disorder think about food, weight, and body image constantly.

What causes Anorexia Nervosa?
• • • • • • Cultural pressures Psychological issues Family environment Genetic factors Life transitions Perpetuating factors

Cultural Pressures
• In many societies, being extremely thin is the standard of beauty for women and represents success, happiness, and self-control. • Women are bombarded with messages from the media that they must diet to meet this standard. However, this idealized ultra-thin body shape is almost impossible for most women to achieve since it does not fit with the biological and inherited factors that determine natural body weight.

Psychological Issues
• Psychological characteristics that can make a person more likely to develop anorexia nervosa include: • Low self-esteem • Feelings of ineffectiveness • Poor body image • Depression • Difficulty expressing feelings • Rigid thinking patterns • Need for control • Perfectionism • Physical or sexual abuse

Family Environment
Some family styles may contribute to the development of anorexia nervosa. Families of people with the disorder are more likely to be: • Overprotective • Rigid • Suffocating in their closeness In these cases, anorexia nervosa develops as a struggle for independence and individuality. It is likely to surface in adolescence when new demands for independence occur. • Overvaluing appearance and thinness • Criticizing a child's weight or shape • Being physically or sexually abusive

Genetic Factors
• Anorexia nervosa occurs eight times more often in people who have relatives with the disorder. However, experts do not know exactly what the inherited factor may be. • In addition, anorexia nervosa occurs more often in families with a history of depression or alcohol abuse.

Life Transitions
Life transitions can often trigger anorexia nervosa in someone who is already vulnerable because of the factors described above. Examples include: Beginning of adolescence Beginning or failing in school or at work Breakup of a relationship Death of a loved one Dieting and losing weight can also set off anorexia nervosa

• • • • •

Perpetuating Factors
• Once anorexia nervosa has developed, several factors can perpetuate the disorder. These factors include: • Symptoms of starvation • Other people's reactions to the weight loss • Emotional needs filled by feelings of self-control, virtue, and power from controlling one's weight • The resulting cycle makes it more difficult to stop the disorder and become healthy again.

The resulting cycle makes it more difficult to stop the disorder and become healthy again.

What Health Problems Can cause Anorexia Nervosa
Problems associated in weight loss include lowering of: • Heart rate • Blood pressure • Breathing rate • Body temperature (which may result in feeling cold) Other Physical problems include: • Thinning or drying of the hair “Lanugo" hair (a fine hair that develops on the face, back, or arms and legs) • Dry skin • Restlessness and reduced sleep • Yellowish color on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet • Lack of or infrequent menstrual periods • Death!

Facts about Anorexia Nervosa
• About 90% to 95% are females between ages 13 and 30. However, anorexia nervosa can also occur in males and people of all ages. • Although anorexia nervosa is most common in the white upper and middle class, it occurs in people of all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Anorexia Facts Cont…
• People in certain occupations that emphasize leanness to improve performance and appearance are at increased risk for developing anorexia nervosa. These include dancers, gymnasts, figure skaters, runners, wrestlers, cheerleaders, sorority girls, and models.

Celebrities battling the disease Anorexia Nervosa

Reflection Questions
• Do you compare yourself to magazines, celebrities, actors, or models? • When you do, do you think about it all day? • Do you think the media plays a huge part in the role of eating disorders today? Why? • Do you think someone can cure themselves from Anorexia? • What do you think can be done to help with the increase in eating disorders?


The main physical problems
• • • • • • Starvation; Dehydration; Muscle and cartlidge deterioration; Osteoporosis; Irregular or abnormally slow heart rate; Heart failure.

If the patients life is in danger. • Constant supervision; • Monitoring vitals; • Parenteral (intervenuous) feeding.

Treatment team
• • • • • • • • • • • • Doctors; Psychologists; Psychiatrists; Psychiatry nurses; TEAM WOR! Social workers; Physiotherapist; Occupational therapist; Dietitian; Nutritionists; Nurses; Caretakers; Health visitors.

Pro ana and wannarexia
• Pro-ana is a group of people who promote and support anorexia as a lifestyle. • Wannarexia is a group of people who claim to have anorexia or they would like to have.

What is well – being?
Definition of well – being?
“Well being is a state of being satisfied with different aspects of life (job, relationships, finances,freedom, quality of life,...).” (Diener)

1. Boston College Counseling Services, “Anorexia”, February 8, 2005 on/ec_anorexia.htm Novak, Gary “The Psychology of Anorexia” “Anorexia” , © 1998 – 2006 by the Rectors and Visitors of the University of Virginia “Eating Disorders”, South Carolina Department of Mental Health, April 11, 2006 “Anorexia – Easy to Read” , U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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