13 Ağustos 2013 Salı

Causes of Anorexia

     Anorexia nervosa is characteried by an irrational fear of becoming fat coupled with an obsession with thinness. People with anorexia go to extremes to reach and maintain a dangerously low body weight. But no matter how thin they become, it's never enough. The more weight is lost, the more obsessed they become with food, dieting, and weight loss. What sets someon on a course toward self-starvation? It's easy to blame a culture that equates slenderness with beauty and success, and portrays stick-thin women as the physical ideal, but eating disorders have been around for centuries. Although our culture's idealization of thinness plays a powerful role in the development of anorexia, there are other contrubuting factors, including genetics, individual personality traits, and social and family pressures.

     Research suggests that a genetic predisposition to anorexia may run in families. If a girl has a sibling with anorexia, she is 10 to 20 times more likely than the general population to develop anorexia herself. Brain chemistry also appears to play a significant role. People with anorexia tend to have high levels of cortisol, the brain hormone most related to stress, and decreased levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, which are associated with feelings of well-being.

     When we look at the personality traits of anorexics, we observe that people with anorexia are often perfectionists and overachievers. They're the "good" daughters and sons who do what they're told, excel in everything they do, and focus on pleasing others. But while anorexics may appear to have it all together on the surface, inside they feel helpless, inadequate, and worthless. They view themselves through a harshly critical lens. If they're not perfect, they're a total failure.

     In addition to the genetic factors and personality traits, there are family and social pressures that can contribute to anorexia. This includes participation in an activity that demands slenderness, such as ballet, gymnastics, or modeling. It also includes having parents who are overly controlling, put a lot of emphasis on looks, diet themselves, or criticize their children's bodies and appearance. Stressful life events-such as the onset of puberty, a breakup, or going away to school-can also trigger anorexia.

     To sum up, for genetic, personality or social reasons, people with anorexia never think that they are too thin. Despite being dangerously underweight, anorexics see a fat person when they look in the mirror. What they do not see is the tremendous physical and emotional damage that self-starvation inflicts, so they continue to diet, fast, purge and over-exercise.

quote:bogazici university, writing booklet-8; spring-2013


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