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Anorexia: It is a disease

Imagine never eating and pretending like you are not hungry. First it may seem awesome and you might want to do it all the time. But then hair starts growing in places it shouldn't, your skin becomes dry, scaly, and yellowish and you become so depressed that you don't even have a "social" life anymore. Anorexia will do all of this and more to whomever it takes over. Anorexia is a major disease.

Everyone knows that anorexia is an eating disorder, but what they do not know is that it is really a major disease that can kill you. According to Jacqueline Longe anorexia was classified as a psychiatric disorder in 1980 in the 3rd edition of DSM. Characteristics of anorexia are unrealistic fear of gaining weight, self-starvation, and conspicuous distortion of their body image. Anorexia comes from two Latin words that mean "nervous inability to eat" (Longe). There are also two subtypes of anorexia. The first subtype is called the restricting type. This type means that the anorexic person has a strict diet and exercises way too much. Binge eating and purging is the second subtype of anorexia. Experiencing episodes of compulsive eating with or without self-induced vomiting and the use of laxatives or enemas is the characteristics of the second type (Longe).

When we think of an anorexic we think of an impossibly thin young girl, obsessively toying with her food but never eating it, and the details of her skeleton are clearly visible through her dry flesh. David Sifton has said that eating disorders is one of the most stubborn problems a person can face. Most of the time we can not tell if someone has this horrible problem. By the time we actually find out that the person does have anorexia it is almost too late. At this point they now have serious health problems such as malnutrition, dehydration, esophagus tears, kidney and liver damage, and could eventually turn into death (Hughes 72). The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders estimate that seven million women and one million men have this deadly disease (Sifton).

When people become anorexic there is usually a reason behind it. Some reasons why it occurs are emphasizing on equating beauty with thinness, having a family history, and having a family or personal history of mood disorders. If the person you believe has this disease they will show signs of weight loss, binge eating, feeling weak and dizzy, brittle nails, and increased body hair (Cooper 180). Every eating disorder can be traced back to a diet. People will restrict their eating, take diet pills and laxatives, and throw up. This causes havoc in their whole body system, and can even cause death (Hughes 72). Not eating creates a certain "high" with edginess and heightened alertness that's very appealing to a new anorexic. But on the other hand eating steals energy to do anything; that person now becomes a liar and a pretender, a shell of a person (Keeley 145-46).

Since anorexic is classified as a psychological disease, there are psychological factors that come with it. For instance a person might become anorexic because they were sexually abused at one point in their life (Longe). "If I didn't get rid of those curves, some boy or man would want to rape me again," said Kimberly (Hughes 72). Rejection of female sexual maturity, a desire to appear as fragile and none threatening as possible, and evidence of family dysfunction are also psychological factors associated with anorexia (Longe). Clowney, a biracial woman, battled anorexia for twenty years. It was first triggered by a pre-teen identity crisis, but once her parents divorced the problem escalated to the point of death (Hughes 72).

According to the Health and Wellness Resource Center long term health complications such as congestive heart failure, sudden death, growth retardation, constipation, swelling of the salivary glands, and osteoporosis can occur during anorexia. Dental problems are also a big problem for anorexics (Longe). "My teeth enamel is worn away as the result of vomiting, and I have several teeth that are completely decayed. I also have intestinal problems; I must take medication in order to have a bowel movement (Hughes)."

Besides dieting, taking laxatives, exercising compulsively, and vomiting to become anorexic, studies have shown that people are also taking ipecac syrup. This drug makes the anorexic throw up in order to not gain any weight (Hughes). Ipecac syrup is a plant extract from the ipecacuanha scrub found in Brazil. When ingested, Ipecac syrup stimulates the central nervous system and the stomach, causing the person to vomit. Ipecac's sole purpose is to facilitate vomiting in an individual who has ingested poison or overdosed on medication. The use of Ipecac is for a single use, and the intent is for it to never be used on multiple occasions (Jellin). In the article Dying to be Thin, a young girl said, "Ipecac is very hard on the heart, and I weakened my heart muscles while abusing it. I had a minor heart attack when I was 19."

With little self-confidence but a strong sense of knowing, you're consumed by the duality of being told what you should know and knowing what you do know. A person who's numb, faded, consumed, and filled is also distracted by the energy devoted to quietly dying, a little at a time (Hughes 145-46).

Kate Keely, a recovered anorexic, at the time of when anorexia had fully taken control of her body. This quote shows that it is not ok to be anorexic. Once anorexia consumed her, she was worse than before she became anorexic. People should not have the idea that death is better than life in their heads. It is not a healthy way to live. Keeley has also described the beginning of anorexia as a mental ulcer centered in the stomach. It begins with lack of confidence and trying to find a true identity. Eventually, it will consume the anorexic from the inside out.

Some people actually think that have an eating disorder is a positive lifestyle choice, and a cool one at that. These people have given themselves a name and also have websites to keep in touch. Anas, anorexics, will wear red colored bracelets for encouragement and in order to let others know what they are. The bracelets are also there to keep the girls from eating. Every time they think of food they are suppose to slap the bracelet against their wrist (Simpson 4-5). Anyone seen wearing a bracelet is part of an internet site. Internet sites are a place where the girls can go to talk to other anorexics. The sites encourage people to stay anorexic and to become one. If a girl is thinking about becoming one she can talk to other sufferers, which will bring about an even deeper obsession about



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