What does it mean to be fat? While google will give you the generic answer of fat pertaining to the number on a scale, size of ones clothing and BMI. The word fat has become such a demeaning and frightening term that some will drive themselves mad in an attempt to remain thin or ideal. Anorexia Nervosa (AN), is an emotional disorder conjured by those who have instilled the idea of overweight into the minds of our general public. In today's modern society we are classified as an obese country tipping the scales at 67.7% for the total population that is overweight. In the article I chose for review New insights into Symptoms and Neurocircuit Function of Anorexia Nervosa by Kaye (2009). Kaye discusses the triggering factors of Anorexia Nervosa for people and the different confounding variables that make people susceptible to develop AN. More notably, Kaye talks about the different types of Anorexia, what ones experiences are when developing AN, what early childhood must have been like, the paradoxical response to eating, the chemical imbalance within the brain and the internal conflict of societies expectations.
There are two types of AN Kaye explained Restricting-Type Anorexia (AN) and Binging/Purging (BN). While Kaye chose to focus more so on Restricting-Type Anorexia he did explain the difference between the two. Binging and Purging has to do with the ingestion then immediate regurgitation or passing through stool. The individual will consume their desired food but in heavier doses only to impulsively purge out what was just consumed as a tactic for losing weight.This is completed through vomit or laxatives/enemas. Restricting-Type Anorexia has the same underlying principles (eg. remaining thin) but completed in a different manor. People with AN solely rely on losing weight entirely by lack of consumption. Victims of AN will starve themselves to the point of malnourishment which then can result in the shut down of important organs and severe damage to the brain. The results of AN can lead to catastrophic events if not properly treated.
Between the early ages of 12-25 people find themselves at the highest risk for developing AN. This is the time we are exposed to the cruel opinions of others and how one should look on a day-to-day basis. Kaye reviewed that the way a child was brought up and its temperament may already be a variable for developing AN during youth. A few key factors that were appointed as early warning signs of AN was if the child displayed any type of harm avoidance, perfectionism, inhibition, drive for thinness, altered interoceptive awareness or obsessive-compulsive personality traits (Kaye, 2009, p.574). Drive for thinness is a much different goal than drive for healthiness. One pertains to the idea of being in good health and being fit whereas, the other is only what you see in the mirror; your size. Those with AN do not wish for anything other than to see themselves thin in a mirror. The obsession of trying to be thin makes a person unhealthy. Today people find thin to be a desirable quality and if they are not When a child becomes vulnerable they are found gravitating toward the judgements of others. This in itself can be a correlation for AN; but correlation does not equal causation. There are other factors for why someone would put themselves through the harm and pain of starvation.
On a personal note I know I focused on self-image; I have been on again off again struggling with AN for a little over three years now and began seeing a psychiatrist a little more than two years ago, after my mother ran upstairs to find me collapsed on my floor squeezing my torso, wriggling in pain because my kidneys had begin to fail and sent pain throughout my body. I was lucky enough to not have caused any severe damage to my body other than stomach problems now. Not even a few days later after arguing with friends and family about not being able (wanting) to eat, I found myself in a office getting help for my problem (I put this in quotes because I did not see it as a problem at first) because my loved ones could not bear to sit back and watch the emotional and physical pain I was enduring on a daily basis. I can still recall my first time sitting in a red leather sofa being told we are attempting to get to the root source of my issues. I was never aware that what I was doing was such a problem for everyone. Kaye Stated People with AN enter a vicious cycle which could account for the chronicity of this disorder because eating exaggerates, whereas food refusal reduces, an anxious mood (Kaye, 2009, p.575). I saw what I was doing as a choice. I wanted to see myself how I dreamt I could. It wasn't until I was shown pictures of myself from a few months earlier and began writing all of my newly developed problems that I saw a sickly change in my well-being. I had dropped over 20 lbs and had a symptoms list that was nothing short of dictionary's length of problems. It felt almost like a light switch; I saw the pain in my mothers eyes, watching her youngest baby starve herself to the point of needing doctors to force reality into my head; that if I didn't stop I would end up killing myself. I never started medication, I never went to support groups, I eventually stopped going to therapy and am on the incline upward. Kaye's article brought forth new insight I had never known, such as, our physiological brain differences rapidly increase the disease.
Although Anorexia Nervosa is classified as an eating disorder. It is still under debate whether there is a disturbance of appetitive pathways (Kaye, 2009, p.577). It is well known that the Hypothalamus is in charge of weight regulation. However, it is questioned if hypothalamic peptides relate to the cause of AN. Kaye explains a method for observing the brains understanding of food regulation and the development of AN through studying animals. Kaye explained an experiment conducted on animals where levels of cerebrospinal fluid of immunoreative corticotropin was increased (as it normally would in an AN patient). Then animals were analyzed as hormone levels were introduced; at what level did their depression reach its maximum and when did the hunger levels disperse. By studying animals psychologists are able to make a connection between the neural pathways (within humans) that provide responses to appetitive stimuli. Given what we already know about the feeding behavior crossing with the processes in AN, the Neural Substrates provide an understanding for pathophysiology associated with AN.
It was found that within the animal experiments, by releasing more of the immunoreactive corticotropin hormone, the less animals ate and the more their depression and anxiety levels were raised. In order to fully understand the neurological
I chose this article because it was a topic very close to my heart and I am always curious to read about others and understand why they would inflict such pain onto themselves. It seems every person is different in their reasons. The physiological science behind what is taking place in the brain when you don't eat was something I never knew about. The effect the hypothalamus plays on regulating what we eat
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