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Awaiting moderation 703 Article

Weight problems: about anorexia

        WEIGHT PROBLEMS: ABOUT ANOREXIA

Before you can tackle a problem, you have to give it a name, but people often use the same words to mean different things. In medicine particularly, such confusion can be dangerous. Fortunately, in the last few years experts have begun to agree on the terms used to identify eating disorders. Such wasn't always the case.
The full name of the disorder of self-starvation, first coined by a Dr. Gull in the nineteenth century, is anorexia nervosa. While "anorexia"-Greek for "without hunger" or "lack of appetite"-is a real symptom of many illnesses, it's a poor label for people who are obsessed with food and who constantly fight the urge to eat. Only in the final stages of their illness do anorexics actually lose their appetites. A doctor who takes the word anorexia literally, who assumes that his anorexic patients have no desire for food, might give them appetite stimulants. For a woman with a constant, gnawing hunger, whose self-esteem depends on controlling her eating, such an approach spells disaster.
Experts spliced on the word nervosa to show that the illness involves not just a single symptom, but a whole range of psychological and physical problems. Anorexia nervosa describes a syndrome-a set of symptoms that occur together.
Not everyone is happy with the name. One English physician prefers weight phobia. Yes, anorexics do feel a powerful fear of fatness, but the disease is much more complex than that. Other fears besides that of weight may also be present-a fear of growing up, of maturity, or of separation from the family. Some writers like to use self-starvation, plain and simple.
However, anorexia nervosa is the name most professionals prefer, while laypeople use anorexia to indicate the whole syndrome rather than the single symptom of loss of appetite.

*11/35/5*
WEIGHT LOSS



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Keywords for this page: Weight problems: about anorexia
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