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1 Running head: ANOREXIA NERVOSA

Diagnosis Paper: An Eating Disorder known as Anorexia Nervosa Melissa Kelley September 17, 2013 Introduction to Occupational Therapy 1020 Robyn Smith

2 DIAGNOSIS PAPER Introduction Eating is something that comes naturally for most people and is something we can relate to; its something that we enjoy and spend a lot of our life doing. It falls into one of the areas of occupation, known as activities of daily living (ADL), and therefore is fundamental to our daily lives. However, some individuals will forego this important area of occupation and will tremendously impact their life. This diagnosis paper delves into the world of an eating disorder known as Anorexia Nervosa and will explore the various symptoms and daily occupations it might affect. Description of Diagnosis and Symptoms Anorexia nervosa is a potentially deadly eating disorder that is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Distorted body image, restricting or refusing to eat and over-exercising are common characteristics of anorexia (Simon, 2013). The disorder is complex and can have a different root causes depending on the individual; psychological, social, environmental, interpersonal and biological factors can all play a contributing factor to an eating disorder. It is a complex condition that can be a cycle of emotional and physical destruction (Anorexia Nervosa) and many times can have other psychiatric illness associated with it such as depression or anxiety (Duckworth and Freedman, 2013). The disorder primarily affects young girls and women, although men can fall victim to the disorder as well (Brownell, 2011). Some symptoms of an eating disorder include extreme weight loss, obsessive calorie counting, intense fear of gaining weight, yellow skin, brittle nails, withdrawal from friends and activities, excessive exercise, hypersensitivity to cold, stomach problems and odd food rituals such as cutting food into very small pieces (Simon, 2013). The list is long and varied and will vary from person to person.

3 DIAGNOSIS PAPER Concentration, from lack of nutrition, according to Clark and Nayar (2012), can be difficult and socializing with friends may be avoided due to poor body image. The article describes the agonizing experience of grocery shopping and obsessively looking at the nutrition labels; and when a person spends too much time in the supermarket, that leaves less time for socializing or other meaningful activities. Perfectionism tends to control the lives of those who suffer from anorexia and having extreme rigidity in routines make simple tasks take much longer. Progression and Prognosis of Anorexia Nervosa Anorexia Nervosa is not like other diseases or illnesses and because eating disorders are so individualistic; the prognosis of the disorder can range from acute to chronic. The severity depends solely on the individual and to what extent they participate in the disorder. Early diagnosis and treatment appear to help the most in recovery from anorexia, however it is not possible to diagnose who will suffer from acute or chronic forms of anorexia (Duckworth and Freedman, 2013). If anorexia progresses and remains untreated individuals may experience detrimental effects on their body such as damage to vital organs, depletion of vital nutrients such as potassium and sodium, osteoporosis and death (Duckworth and Freedman, 2013). Anorexia falls under the category of a mental disorder, although as previously mentioned can have many aspects that play a role in a particular individuals diagnosis. According to Stein (2010), mental disorders are, conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress In general, anorexia is considered a disorder because it is a reflection of how a person feels, acts and thinks; it is not contagious, although some research suggests that it can be certain traits can be inherited that make you more predisposed to an eating disorder. Anorexia can also be a learned behavior, for example, from a friend or if your mother or father had unusual eating habits.

4 DIAGNOSIS PAPER Personal Reflection on the Effects of Anorexia Nervosa on Areas of Occupation Every aspect of ones life appears that it will be affected by an eating disorder, including all of the eight categories of areas of occupation. Our culture and social media have created a desired beauty to be thin at any cost. It makes sense to me that if you are feeling fat, that your social and play areas of your life would be greatly affected. When someone feels fat, they dont want to go out in public or hang out with friends. Work and education would also be greatly affected because a lack of energy from nutrition depletion would be exhausting and it is hard to concentrate when your mind is constantly consumed by something, such as food. Probably the most important occupation that is affected is eating, a principle activity of daily living and other things such as sexual activity probably decline as well. In general, I imagine it is hard for many individuals with an eating disorder to find it hard to be in a relationship, due to being insecure and wrapped up in their problems. Sleep and rest is also probably disrupted and even though an individual may do it more, because of lack of nutrition, they probably dont sleep well. I imagine that individuals are tormented by nightmares of gaining weight. Lastly the instrumental activities of daily living are impacted as well; shopping and meal preparation are probably not a daily activity of an anorexic individual who is restricting food intake. As mentioned previously in Clark and Nayar article, grocery shopping can be extremely agonizing and stressful. Child rearing could also be affected as many women lose their menses. An eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa, seems to affect every part of a persons daily life from lack of energy and becoming quickly fatigued to how an individual views themselves.


References Anorexia Nervosa. Retrieved from Brownell, K., Hotelling, K., Lowe, Michael., Rayfield, G. (2011, October). Eating Disorders. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from Clark, Maree., Nayar, Shoba. (2012, April). Recovery from Eating Disorders: A Role for Occupational Therapy. New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy. Volume 59, No. 1. Retrieved from Duckworth, K., Freedman, J. (2013, January). Mental Illnesses, Anorexia Nervosa. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from ontentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=149438 Simon, Harvey. (2013, March 8). In-Depth Report: Anorexia Nervosa. Retrieved from New York Times Stein, D., Phillips, K., Bolton, D., Fulford, K., Sadler, John., Kendler, Kenneth. (2010, November). What is a Mental/Psychiatric Disorder? From DSM-IV to DSM-V. Cambridge Journals. Volume 40. Issue 11. doi: 10.1017/S0033291709992261