anorexia nervosa

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anorexia nervosa:

see eating disorderseating disorders,
in psychology, disorders in eating patterns that comprise four categories: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, rumination disorder, and pica. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation to avoid obesity.
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anorexia nervosa

a disorder of eating behaviour. This is a psychological disturbance found predominantly in young women which leads them to perceive themselves as obese and to attempt to become slim. Their disordered eating behaviour is most usually expressed as a refusal to eat sufficiently, so that weight is lost, and in conjunction there may be episodes of bulimia, or bingeing, followed by the use of purgatives and self-induced vomiting. As weight loss continues menstruation ceases, and, though at first energy appears to increase, eventually the physical condition may become life-threatening.

There has been much interest in and research into this condition since the early 1970s. Among sociologists, anorexia is considered a ‘pathology of self-identity’, arising from the idealization of slimness (especially for women) in contemporary societies. Disordered family relationships have been suggested as a precipitating factor, the effort of the patient to return to being a child (immature figure, non-menstruating) suggesting an unwillingness to become an adult. It is also proposed that a genetic predisposition may underlie the problem. Current treatment is becoming more oriented to medical intervention to correct the biochemical imbalance, but social and psychiatric treatments are still widely used. When a patient is severely ill, needing hospitalization, the usual treatment has been behavioural, which can be effective in inducing weight gain. See BEHAVIOUR THERAPY. Psychotherapy is used to assist the patient achieve a realistic perception of her/his situation, and SELF-HELP GROUPS are found useful by many sufferers who may need longterm support. See also BODY.

anorexia nervosa

[‚an·ə′rek·sē·ə nər′vō·sə]
(psychology)
A disorder in which dramatic reduction in caloric intake consequent to excessive dieting leads to significant physiological, emotional, psychological, and behavioral disturbances.
References in periodicals archive ?
Using new imaging tools that let scientists watch as a person's mental gears grind through different tasks, researchers are starting to pin down how anorexic brains work overtime.
Dr Jane adds that anorexics 30 years ago could be taken to hospital to recover without such added pressures.
For many anorexic patients, food does not taste good.
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Fashion addicts, racism and eating disorders: society accepts the anorexic
She said: "Anorexia is a mental health issue and the last thing someone who is anorexic needs is encouragement to eat less.
She said she became anorexic after being told she should diet at the age of 14.
On the other hand, the government argues that teenagers are very weight conscious due to skinny celebrities and, as a result, are becoming anorexic.
Greenfield's story focuses on Alisa, a 30-year-old, divorced, working mother who undereats and purges meals; Polly, a 29-year-old veteran of various treatment programs who tends to rebel; Brittany, the 15-year-old formerly overweight daughter of an anorexic mother; and Shelly, a 25-year-old psychiatric nurse who has survived for years with a feeding tube, first in her nose and later implanted in her stomach.
We were naturally slim and elegant (others might have said skinny and puny) but were not anorexic.
By incorporating these ideas into a newly adapted feminist treatment approach that also employs concepts of empowerment and acceptance, psychologists will be able to treat male anorexia nervosa more effectively and possibly change the social stigmas that have plagued anorexic men for so long.