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Anorexia and Bulima Nervosa Anorexia nervosa is a disorder of self-starvation which manifests itself in an extreme aversion to food and can cause psychological endocrine and gynecological problems It almost exclusively affects adolescent white girls with symptoms involving a refusal to eat large weight loss a bizarre preoccupation with food hyperactivity a distorted body image and cessation of menstruation Although the symptoms can be corrected if the patient is diagnosed and treated in time about 10-25 percent of anorexia nervosa patients die usually after losing a least half their normal body weight Anorexia nervosa patients typically come from white middle to upper-middle class families that place heavy emphasis on high achievement perfection eating patterns and physical appearance There has never been a documented case of anorexia nervosa in a black male or female A newly diagnosed patient often is described by her parents as a model child usually because she is obedient compliant and a good student Although most teenagers experience some feelings of youthful rebellion persons with anorexia usually do not outwardly exhibit these feelings tending instead to be childish in their thinking in their need for parental approval and in their lack of independence Psychologists theorize that the patients desire to control her own life manifests itself in the realm of eating--the only area in the patients mind where she has the ability to direct her own life In striving for perfection and approval a person with anorexia may begin to diet in order to lose just a few pounds Dieting does not stop there however and an abnormal concern with dieting is established Nobody knows what triggers the disease process but suddenly losing five to ten pounds is not enough The anorectic patient becomes intent on losing weight It is not uncommon for someone who develops the disorder to starve herself until she weighs just 60 or 70 pounds Throughout the starvation process she either denies being hungry or claims to
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