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Psychological Precursors that lead into Anorexia

Recent years, anorexia becomes one of the diseases affected silently millions of men and women around the world. Weight loss is one starting point of negative body image, but often this eating disorder starts with some sort of diet or food restriction, perhaps after a throwaway remark by a friend about losing a few pounds, perhaps following a broken romance, perhaps after bullying at school, (although you may or may not have been aware of any of these at the time). Doctors and family members should be well aware of signs and symptoms of anorexia and take an active role in prevention and identification of the first symptoms. Thesis Psychological precursors

Recent years, people are influenced greatly by ideal body images popularized by mass media. In Western society today there is enormous stress placed on individuals by the relentless emphasis on having the Right Look, the Right Clothes, the Right Food (according to industry rather than dieticians) and so on — this too could be a trigger. At a time of great biological changes in the body, this could be a last straw in coping or not for a young person. Anorexia's behaviour in denial of her problems is equally as vehement as that of an alcoholic or drug addict: it is everyone else who is out of step, she herself is in complete control of the situation Watching someone losing weight to the point of emaciation, seeing someone so weak that climbing stairs becomes a task akin to climbing Mt Everest, knowing that the binge and vomit cycle could result in serious health problems if not death — is emotional agony. And the agony for carers is made much worse by the knowledge that it is self-inflicted. No wonder feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are frequent.. From the structured, protected and understanding environs of an enclosed world, sufferers are then sent home to real life, including work and study, family and wider relationships that might or might not be supportive or understanding. Without any support or family guidance as to what to expect or how to help, sufferers are frequently doomed to relapse when stress develops — and what life can be led without stress and change of one kind or another? Life is change. Months of work can and frequently does unravel because on discharge families and friends have no idea of how best to help and support the sufferer who, under individual stress, is still prey to the same worries.

Weak self-image and dissatisfaction with the body or personal life can be direct causes of anorexia. Anxiety, stress, peer pressure can lead to desire to obtain an ideal body and loose weight. Not only is Anorexia's view in the mirror distorted, relationships are likewise changed as self-esteem is lost in the focus on food, the hourly, daily battle to stop giving in to the body's demands for sustenance. Reality retreats as Anorexia takes over. Where concern is intended, Anorexia hears only interference. Where love is expressed, there is disbelief — both Bulimia and Anorexia think no one could possibly love someone so fat, so gross, so lacking in self-discipline. Anorexia, whether operating alone or alongside Bulimia, has a devastating effect not only on the lives of those who suffer from this serious mental illness but also on their families. Families desperately want to know what they can do to help, want to know how best to support their relative. At least the extreme thinness of Anorexia cannot be hidden from medical eyes. But unfortunately Bulimia, working alone without Anorexia, is clever at hiding her activities. She can even maintain a “normal” weight while presenting a bright face and is so reluctant to discuss health problems, resulting from repeated vomiting or use of laxatives, that unsuspecting doctors may treat patients for various ailments without guessing that the problems are not caused, for instance, by bowel problems, but by heavy use of laxatives.

The growing bulimia effect is a part of the ideal body image. When people are living with stress (whether financial, medical, legal, emotional) communication can break down. Any family coping with chronic illness is under considerable strain, and this is particularly true of psychiatric illness where the behavior of someone who is ill affects the daily life of other family members. No matter how much people love the sufferer, when faced daily with behaviour that is aggressive, manipulative, unpleasant, and extreme, that love will be tested to the limit. Therefore anything that might improve matters in the home is worth exploring. people feel alone if they feel no one else is going through the same experience. Even in times of great happiness it is sometimes difficult to find the words to share our experiences adequately, but at least in joyful situations our faces and body language can convey what we feel. In our culture over many years it has been seen as weakness to show our feelings, especially when these feelings are sad and about painful experiences that are difficult to come to terms with, let alone share with others. We have all heard the saying “Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone”, and in today's mobile world of scattered families and friends it is even more common for people to feel totally alone when faced with problems. With the rise of eating disorders in an increasingly-stressed society, more families unfortunately will need help in the future. Anything that can be done to help and support them and anything they can do to support each other will not only help the individual families but also help the deeply unhappy Anorexia and Bulimia in the struggle to understand what must seem a very hostile and incomprehensible world. Because stress is such an individual thing, it is impossible to generalize — but generalizations frequently have been given in the past as stated facts after someone has put forward a theory and time and resources have been put into proving it (Gauntlett, 2002).

In sum, psychological precursors that lead into anorexic behavior involve false advertising images and weak self-esteem, psychological and personal problems, stress and work overload. Anorexia begins to sound irritable and bad-tempered over trivial things that never caused a problem before, and her perceptions of relationships and events change and distort as she loses the ability to think clearly and logically. One of the consequences of very low weight is depression and concentration is badly affected, causing more problems if Anorexia is expected to work at school, studying at college or university or trying to hold down a job.

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