Eating Disorders (from mental disorder)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anorexia nervosa usually starts in late adolescence and is about 20 times more common in girls than boys. This disorder is characterized by a body weight more than 25 percent below standard, amenorrhea, a fear of loss of control of eating, and an intense desire to be thin. Though grossly thin, patients nevertheless believe themselves to be fat. They go to enormous lengths to resist eating food and to lose weight, including food avoidance, purging, self-induced vomiting, and vigorous exercise.

The condition appears to start with the patient's voluntary control of food intake in response to social pressures such as peer conformity. The disorder is exacerbated by troubled relations within the family. It is much more common in developed, wealthy societies and in girls of higher socioeconomic class. There is evidence that it has become more common in such countries since the 1960s.

Patient management includes three stages: persuading the patient to accept and cooperate with treatment, achieving weight gain by medical methods of care, and helping the patient maintain weight by psychological and social therapy. Bulimia nervosa refers to episodic grossly excessive overeating binges. These may alternate with episodes of self-induced vomiting. The disorder is a variant of anorexia nervosa.

mental disorder. (2008). Encyclop?dia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclop?dia Britannica.


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