Depiction of Anorexia Nervosa in The Movie to The Bone

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About this sample


Words: 1371 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Words: 1371|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Psychological disorders are more commonly diagnosed in today’s society. Years ago, a psychological disorder was easily overlooked. In today’s society, it is easier to tell if someone has a psychological disorder because of all of the research that has been done throughout the past few years. One way to tell if someone has a psychological disorder is by paying attention to the symptoms and signs. Each disorder will have many different symptoms that differentiate them from each other. By paying close attention, people are able to tell what specific psychological disorder someone is battling. It is best to let a doctor officially diagnose someone with the correct psychological disorder. If a person is thought to have a mental disorder, anyone can unofficially diagnose them.

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In the movie “To The Bone,” the main fictional character is named Eli, originally called Ellen. In the beginning, it shows her returning home to her dad’s house. She was in an inpatient program, but was not making any progress. Eli was experiencing a DSM-V psychological disorder called Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia Nervosa is when people eat so little they have a huge weight loss that is unhealthy and they become very thin. Many who suffer from Anorexia Nervosa think they are overweight, or fat even when they are very underweight and thin. It can increase the chances of early death, but with treatment, it can be helped. Eli shows many symptoms and evidence that enables me to correctly diagnose her as someone who battles Anorexia Nervosa. Even though there are a lot of symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa, Eli does not show every single one of them, she can only be seen showing about fifteen of them.

By just looking at Eli’s physical body, it is easy to see the many different symptoms that she portrays. She has soft, fuzzy hair that covers her whole body. The reason for her hair growing soft and long like it is in the movie is because of the fact her body is trying to keep itself warm. Since she has no body fat keeping her body warm, it takes matters in to its own hands and starts growing soft, fuzzy hair all over her. Another symptom of Anorexia Nervosa is the skin having a yellowish color to it. Throughout the whole movie, her skin is a sort of yellow color that does not change until her dream when she is better. People who have Anorexia Nervosa tend to always stay covered up with a bundle of clothing. Unless she is being weighed in the bathroom, Eli can always be seen with long baggy clothes on that keep her covered up. Whenever she has her clothes off, her body is very thin. Her bones are very visible, which is a sign of someone who suffers from Anorexia Nervosa. By not eating, it can take a huge toll on the body, which can be clearly seen in this movie.

Throughout the movie, Eli can be seen showing signs of having Anorexia Nervosa when she skips meals, makes excuses to why she is not eating, eats only foods that are low in calories, and when she chews up food, but spits it out instead of swallowing it. In the beginning of the movie when Eli returns home to her dads after another inpatient stay, her sister asks her why she does not eat. The sister tells Eli that she is always making excuses to why she does not eat, which is a sign of someone who suffers with Anorexia Nervosa. At this same time, Ellen has two vegetables and meat on her plate, but she only eats the vegetables because of them having less calories than the meat. While Eli is staying at the new inpatient house, she starts to eat more, again. After her family session and Megan’s loss of her baby, Eli can be seen skipping meals and not wanting to eat. Whenever Luke takes Eli to eat with him, she does not actually eat the food she orders, she chews it up and spits it out, instead of swallowing it.

Another symptom of Anorexia Nervosa is mood changes. Throughout the movie, Eli always has a flat mood. She rarely shows emotion to anyone throughout the whole movie. It is not until the end when she starts to perk up a bit because she knows she wants to get better. She also shows the symptom of being very irritable. For example, when Luke tries to get her to eat the goo goo chocolate ball that she loves, she gets irritated with him very quickly because of him pushing her a little too hard to eat it. She is seen to have a very unhappy mood the whole movie except for a few moments here and there. People who battle Anorexia Nervosa tend to lack emotions.

Many symptoms can arise from battling Anorexia Nervosa. Eli has a few different symptoms because of her Anorexia Nervosa. After she leaves her new inpatient care house, she can be seen getting up out of a chair and she faints. She had gotten so unhealthy at that point she was weak so in result she fainted and fell to the floor. Another result of having Anorexia Nervosa is a women’s reproductive system starts to not work properly. While Eli is being checked by Doctor Beckham, he asked her when she had her last period, and she cannot even remember. In women, an absence of menstruation is a symptom of battling Anorexia Nervosa. People who suffer from Anorexia Nervosa are very thin and have no fat on their body. Since they have no fat to keep them warm, they suffer from being cold. When Eli got really bad right before she was going to have to get a tube, she was always cold. She can be seen shaking and wearing long clothes around this time. When someone has Anorexia Nervosa, they can produce symptoms as a result of having it. Anorexia has a huge effect on the body.

People who battle Anorexia Nervosa care a lot about the size of their body. Eli can be seen exercising a lot in this film. She is constantly doing sit-ups throughout the movie. She even agrees to go eat with Luke at a restaurant if she can walk very fast all the way there. People who suffer from Anorexia Nervosa are constantly exercising because they think it will help them stay small. During the movie, Eli constantly wraps her hands around her arm seeing if she can grip the whole arm with her hand. She does this because she wants to make sure her arms are not getting fatter.

When someone has a psychological disorder, they need to be correctly diagnosed so they can become healthy again. If they continue suffering from the psychological disorder without a diagnosis, it could be detrimental to their health in the long run. It can even lead to an early death. During the movie, Eli gets told a few times by people that they are afraid that if she keeps on doing what she does, that she will die. When the body does not get the nutrients it needs, it will start to shut down. Eli becomes very close to death at the end of the movie, but after having a dream she finally realizes that it is time to get better. Even though Eli needed to be officially diagnosed by a doctor, it is easy to see the symptoms that she portrays from having Anorexia Nervosa.

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Overall, Eli portrays a lot of symptoms and signs that would allow people to diagnose her with having Anorexia Nervosa. These include, moodiness, soft body hair, yellowish skin, always wearing a lot of clothes, very thin, spits out food, skips meals, exercises excessively, measuring the size of her arm, fainting, cannot tolerate cold, and absence of period. Anorexia Nervosa is a very serious psychological disorder. Eli does not take it seriously at the beginning of the movie, but she soon comes to realize that she does not need to get better just for herself, but for her family and friends, also. In the end, she finally realizes that she needs to be in the program and goes back to continue on the path of getting well.

Works Cited

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
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  3. Eddy, K.T., Tabri, N., Thomas, J.J., Murray, H.B., Keshaviah, A., Hastings, E., ... & Herzog, D.B. (2017). Recovery from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa at 22-year follow-up. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 78(2), 184-189.
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  6. Steinhausen, H.C., & Weber, S. (2009). The outcome of bulimia nervosa: Findings from one-quarter century of research. American Journal of Psychiatry, 166(12), 1331-1341.
  7. Lock, J., Le Grange, D., Agras, W.S., & Dare, C. (2001). Treatment manual for anorexia nervosa: A family-based approach. Guilford Press.
  8. Wildes, J.E., Ringham, R.M., & Marcus, M.D. (2010). Emotion avoidance in patients with anorexia nervosa: Initial test of a functional model. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 43(5), 398-404.
  9. Haynos, A.F., & Fruzzetti, A.E. (2011). Anorexia nervosa as a disorder of emotion dysregulation: Evidence and treatment implications. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 18(3), 183-202.
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Depiction Of Anorexia Nervosa In The Movie To The Bone. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Depiction Of Anorexia Nervosa In The Movie To The Bone.” GradesFixer, 18 Mar. 2021,
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