The people’s point of view on the issue of obesity has changed over the time. Some centuries ago, obesity was a sign of wellbeing and high social status. As you may notice from the famous medieval artist’s pictures, people in those days considered fat women beautiful and these women had nothing to worry about. The same was the situation with the men, since obesity was a way to demonstrate their wealth and prosperity. However, the fast industrial development became a reason to not only produce enough food for all social classes, but also a reason for change in the perception of beauty. Women who have lean and slender bodies are currently considered beautiful and attractive, which place fat people in unfavorable position. Women started to fight obesity like never before, creating hundreds of diets. People commonly believe that a slender body is not only beautiful, but healthy, successful and prosperous and try to reach that ideal by all means. This is the reason for eating disorders occurring. Anorexia nervosa is a condition that affects women in age group 11 – 60. This disorder has spread mainly in countries that produce food in abundance at low prices.
The fact that genetic predisposition predetermins individual’s tendency to gain weight, makes the problem with obesity even worse. Since some people are more predisposed to have fatty body than others, irrespective of the hours per day they exercise or the amount of food they consume, they are simply predetermined to be fat. As a consequence, if the woman is predisposed to have a fat body and she constantly focus on her daily calories intake; she is likely to soon develop an eating disorder. This woman can spend much time looking herself in the mirror hoping that she became a bit slimmer. This idea to meet the social standards of beauty turns into addition and the only focus is how to burn fat applying different diets, physical exercises and even abstaining from eating. Since the people prefer to follow the crowd instead of withstand their own principles, some women who has an appealing shapely body, do their best to become slender in order to meet social standards.
Although anorexia nervosa is considered to be mainly women disorder, the searches show that about 10 percents of all affected teens are boys. This disorder makes person to have unrealistic and distorted view of his/her body making them feeling fat even when the body became dangerously thin. Anorexia nervosa is a life-treating disorder that requires medical therapy. Approximately twenty percents of teens that have anorexia nervosa will die and one percent of all young people suffer from eating disorders.
One of the most obvious symptoms that a teen has anorexia nervosa is his /her denial of underweight and trying to lose more and more weight. In addition, they usually are extremely discriminative about what they will consume. They count each calorie reducing the food amount at the absolute minimum.
They also may refuse to eat with the reason they are not hungry. Their food refusal makes them avoid social gatherings or other events where the food presents. For teenagers, suffering of anorexia nervosa it is typical to go to extremes with the exercises and boys are obsessed by the idea to look like athletes.
Studies on the subject indicate that anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric illness that records the highest rate of mortality. It is very important that you seek treatment if you or someone you love, has this problem. Several options are offered to combat anorexia nervosa.
The patient with anorexia nervosa should have one-on-one session with a therapist and the number of visits is decided on the severity of the case. The therapists who are qualified to handle this problem are those that have degrees in social work or psychology. The therapist could also be an ARNP (Advance Registered Nurse Practitioner) who has trained in the field of mental health and psychiatry. It is an added advantage if the therapist is familiar with the topic of eating disorders, as they will be more competent to handle the patient. The therapist talks to the patient and discusses the thought and emotions of the patient. They may also discuss the body image or the therapist may question the patient about their relationships and family. The therapist may weigh the situation at the end of each session and ask the patient to take psychological tests, such the Beck Depression Inventory, or the MMPI. It is entirely possible that the patient need not be hospitalized by making them understand the reason for their problem and how to overcome it easily.
Dieticians are also trained to work with therapists to resolve problems of eating disorders and help patients. The dietician takes care by supplying the right diet, while the therapist works in tandem to supply emotional support, by counseling. Patients are able to relate to dieticians who prescribe the quantity and type of foods that are necessary to become healthy again. Dieticians can carefully explain the repercussions of starving because of some emotional or physical problem that besets the patient. Both the therapist as well as the dietician can prevent the patient from being hospitalized. The dietician may also be capable of providing specialty treatment to arrest eating disorders by talking at length and convincing the patient.
A method that is commonly used for adolescents is the family-based approach, referred to as the Maudsley Method. For this treatment to be successful parental involvement are essential and the patient can come in as an outpatient. Adolescents are helped, to regain weight, without being threatened to be hospitalized for a long period of time and disrupt their normal life. Parents take an active role, along with the therapist, to monitor the adolescent who is allowed to feed themselves once they show signs of restored weight again. Once they reach the target weight, they are then advised therapy sessions. The Maudsley Approach works effectively when parents take an active interest in helping their child regain weight and leading a normal life again.
Several hospitals, community mental health centers and clinics offer day treatment Partial Hospitalization programs. Here the patient has to spend a major portion of the day at the healthcare facility and can reside at their homes for the rest of the evening/night. This allows the patient time to themselves at home, over the weekend, or during the evenings. When you enroll for the partial hospitalization program, you have a choice of undergoing group therapy, individual therapy, or family therapy. The patient also has the advantage of taking up recreational therapy or music therapy. The other programs offered are education in nutrition, cognitive behavioral therapy and problem solving. Patients with anorexia nervosa are given breakfast, as well as lunch and a few snacks during the program along with guidelines on nutritional care when they are on their own on weekends and evenings. This is an effective approach where people can avoid being hospitalized.
If a patient has to be hospitalized, it may involve being treated in a locked hospital. This is because patients who come in for treatment are medically unstable. The anorexic patient has to take part in family therapy, group therapy, occupational therapy and recreational therapy. Feedback is available from a therapist, or the peers, when a patient gets involved in group therapy. Regular blood tests may be conducted to asses one’s health status. A psychiatrist is always on call if medication is required. The patient is required to eat food as they have to regain weight crucially. The caregivers in the facility will decide whether the patient has to be weighed once daily or three times weekly. The advantage of treating patients with this type of hospitalization is that they are in a safe environment, where many professionals are working round the clock to provide good care.
Anorexia nervosa patients who opt for residential treatment are taken care of in the home environment. They will have to involve themselves with the various therapies for individuals; group, nutritional or family therapy to ensure that they are medically stable and can get back to daily life. Patients are also offered involvements with music, art and recreational therapies. To give an example, a “ropes and challenge” course is conducted at Rogers Memorial Hospital for their residence as part of an experiential therapy. In Arizona, the Remuda Ranch offers an equine therapy as part of the residential program. At Arabella House, which offers a transitional residence for women who are sixteen or older, cooking and housekeeping is encouraged as a therapy for women to learn how to work together. The women residing there also do volunteer work and teach other patients to take care of themselves. Free residential facilities are offered by the Christian Mercy Ministries of America along with biblical counseling. This option of residential treatment works well for individuals to need extra support so that they can get back to leading normal lives again.
The last but not the least is the Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous who use the twelve-step approach. The twelve-step programs offered by Recoveries Anonymous specially cater to individuals who struggle with various eating disorders and have recovered from anorexia. This group also provides emotional support to the family members and friends of recovering anorexic patients. Several online support groups are available for specific groups to help them and make them understand that they are there for them. These groups are generally nonjudgmental and aid anorexic patients in their struggle to overcome their eating disorders. Some of these groups may specifically cater to males only. Our peers can offer excellent support most of the time.