Reading: Thinness



The Persistent Pursuit of Thinness




Adolescence, as we all know, is one of the most problematic and difficult stages in the Evolution of Man. The youth not only suffers physical, psychological and social changes, but is also subject to pressure from friends and the Media. These pressures can cause certain eating disorders among adolescents.

Anorexia nervosa is one of the principal illnesses with youths between the ages of 14 and 18. However, it can also affect adult women and men. People with anorexia are obsessed with being thin - they starve themselves to achieve this. They believe that they are fat even though they are very thin. It is a mental illness as it is an attempt to use food and the concept of weight to deal with emotional problems.

The number of cases is increasing because today we live in a world where "image" counts for practically everything. The television, magazines and newspapers only show amazingly pretty and slim people. In the media we don't see successful 'fat', 'ugly' actors/actresses, models, etc. Consequently giving the impression to teenagers that success is related to being attractive. Therefore people with anorexia may believe that they would be happier and more successful if they were thin.

Treating people with anorexia is extremely difficult because those who suffer from this illness believe there is nothing wrong with them. However, if treatment is carried out within the first six months, the patient can be successfully treated. On the other hand, once beyond the six-month stage, treatment becomes less efficient. The anorexic can be taken into hospital, but even then it is not certain that the patient will make a complete recovery. Once in hospital, the patient not only has to change their diet, but also face up to the fact that they themselves have a problem.

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