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A Look into The Life of Anorexia Nervosa

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There are many things in life we need for survival. Many of us know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The first step in life that we need in order to reach the top of the hierarchy is the psychological needs. This includes food, water, and other items. Usually, the first need that pops in people’s minds is food. Food is needed daily for survival. When we think of food we usually tend to get happy. Food can mean spending time with family and friends. But, there are those in which food means unhappy moments. Food, something that’s supposed to make people happy can also actually bring others down. The word “food” can disgust people. Even the thought of it causes them to feel terrible. Imagine looking in the mirror and not feeling happy with yourself. You are considered thin to others but as you look in the mirror all you see is “overweight” you. That is the life of those with anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa is a common eating disorder many adolescents develop. Most cases are found to occur in females. It is also considered to be life-threatening because of the severe weight loss. Severe weight loss is caused with the type of diets those affected get on. During the adolescence years the brain is still cognitively developing. Those who develop the disorder anorexia nervosa suffer from body image and low self-esteem. This is the cause of them to get obsessed with losing weight and developing the fear of gaining weight.

As mentioned anorexia nervosa has many signs and symptoms. One of the major signs that can lead to the diagnoses disorders is extreme weight loss. This includes the loss of more than fifteen pounds in two to three months. If parents are clueless as to what to look for, observing the way their child eats can give our big hints. Those with eating disorders such as, anorexia nervosa, develop bad eating habits. They eat very little or tend to start strange diets. They drastically cut down the amount of food they consume. Their physical appearance is also another sign. They develop the thought of being heavier than they really are. People with body image issues tend to want to hide their body type. They then start wearing loose fitting clothing. Females who have anorexia nervosa also start missing periods. Missing periods either indicates that there is a imbalance of hormones or, in this case, serious medical conditions.

Anorexia nervosa is a psychological disorder. Therefore, anorexia nervosa along with other eating habits are treated by psychiatrists. The treatment for each patient should be individually determined by the medical team. One type of treatments that was proved successful was a family-based therapy. Those with anorexia nervosa tend to feel isolated form everything is o parents are the only source they are comfortable with that can help them out. The parents will be the source to help promote weight gain at home and also help normalize eating little by little.

With the sudden weight loss in anorexia nervosa muscle strength is an important goal for the plan of care. Those affected with this eating disorder are not consuming enough protein, vitamin D/ calcium, and are not maintaining their acid-base balance. Not having the right nutrients and a sudden weight loss leads to muscle weakness which can then turn into osteoporosis. Anorexia affects up to eighty percent of patients and is also known to have led to death in up to twenty percent of cases because of malnutrition. A dietary specialist is therefore a crucial part of treating the patient.

There are not many medications that have had a positive success. Medications that that can promote weight gain include Amitriptyline (Elavil) and also Periactin. They must be given in high dosages, which can be up to twenty-eight milligrams per day. Those who have eating disorders may also continue to go through relapse. The most common medication that can be given to prevent that form occuring is Fluoxetine (Prozac). Although, this does not give a full effect. When given Prozac you want to continue to monitor their weight. Prozac has been known to have a side effect of weight loss.

The patient outcomes desired for this eating disorder is for the client to establish a adequate nutritional eating pattern. The client will also verbalize the acceptance of his/her body type. They will gain the knowledge that the use of excessive exercise and starting strict unrealistic diets only harms the body. The client will also be able to demonstrate increased social skills. They will gain the knowledge that social isolation can lead to other disorders, such as, depression. Overall, the client will demonstrate changes in attitude towards food.


  1. Martínez Baquero, Lizeth Cristina, Vianchá Pinzón, Mildred Alexandra, Pérez Prada, Mónica Patricia, & Avendaño Prieto, Bertha Lucia. (2017). Association between symptoms of anorexia and bulimia nervosa and suicidal behavior in school children of Boyacá, Colombia. Acta Colombiana de Psicología, 20(2), 189-199.
  2. Anorexia. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Lock, J., & Grange, D. L. (2015). Treatment manual for anorexia nervosa: A family-based approach. New York: Guilford Press. Retrieved from
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  5. Videbeck, S. L. (2017). Psychiatric-mental health nursing. Place of publication not identified: Wolters Kluwer.

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