Voltaire once said, “Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” This quote makes me remember that as much pleasure food may bring us, we should never forget that we need it to survive. I guessed most of us don’t, but once again, I remembered there are some people that do. If we were to look the world as a whole, we would realize that from every 100 teenage girls, 1 to 5 suffers from anorexia.
As defined by the National Eating Disorders Association, “Anorexia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.” (NEDA). The term “Anorexia Nervosa” literally means “neurotic loss of appetite”, and could be more generally defined as the result of a prolonged self-starvation and an unhealthy relationship regarding food and self-image. It is characterized by “resistance to maintaining body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height”, “intense fear of weight gain or being “fat”, even though underweight”, “disturbance in the experience of body weight or shape, undue influence of weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of low body weight”, and “loss of menstrual periods in girls and women post-puberty.”(NEDA) Among women on a range of 15 to 24 years old, AN has been proved to have 12 times the annual mortality rate of all death causes, and from premature deaths of anorexic patients, 1 in every 5 is caused by suicide, which gives a rise of 20% for suicide probability. (EDV)
Looking the historical moment we are living at, it is undeniable that the media plays a crucial role on who we are both as individuals and as a society, and how we look at the world. In our modern world, as Jim Morrison says, “The media controls the mind”; and the media has defined what we think beautiful is. In the definition of beautiful, thin goes on top of the list, and that is a very serious problem when looking at eating disorders.
As previously mentioned, anorexia results on dangerously low weights, and it is commonly thought to be a modern illness. The media and the idea it sells about what beauty is are said to be the main causes of this phenomenon. But although the high value beauty has in our modern society may contribute to the recent increase in Anorexia Nervosa cases, it is definitely not the main factor behind it. This illness’s real trigger is the limited control that society allows people over their lives and the possibility to fight it by limiting their food intake, which is one of the few things they can take full charge of.
By starters, Anorexia Nervosa is not a modern illness. Even though Gull’s definition of the disease in 1874 is regarded as the moment of the discovery of AN, there is formal evidence, from 1686, when Richard Morton, a physician, described in his book “Phthisiologia; or a Treatise of Consumptions”, a case that suggested concrete symptoms that...