Psychiatric Occupational Therapy OTH 1432
Mrs. Jeannette Miller
Anorexia nervosa literally meaning “nervous loss of appetite” is a serious, occasionally chronic, potentially life-threatening eating disorder defined by the refusal to maintain body weight within fifteen percent of an individual’s normal body weight for height and age (Chenes, 2007). Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental disorder that typically begins in the early adolescent years but, however it can develop at any time throughout the lifespan resulting in 0.1-0.2 percent of the population. Fifty percent of girls between the ages of eleven and thirteen see themselves as overweight. Eighty percent of thirteen year old girls have attempted to lose weight. It is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents (Kumari Abeydeera, 2006). Approximately ninety-five percent of those affected by anorexia are female, however a small percent of males also develop this disorder. It is more commonly found in Caucasians in middle and upper socioeconomic groups. Competitive athletes tend to be more vulnerable to anorexia than non-athletes due to their obsession to maximize their performance. Many experts also consider people such as models, dancers, and actors to be at a higher risk (Kumari Abeydeera, 2006).
Anorexia disorder varies in severity and causation from patient to patient (Gentile, 2010). However the illness does present certain common features such as, fear of gaining weight, distorted body image, denial of illness, and amenorrhea (the loss of 3 menstrual cycles) in female patients. Although the precise causes of anorexia are unknown, it is contributed to a combination of genetics, environmental factors, personality, and biochemistry. People with anorexia tend to have high levels of cortisol (a brain hormone related to stress) and decreased levels of serotonin and norepinephrine which is associated with feelings of well-being (Swain, 2004)....