W3 Activity: Mortality in Anorexia Nervosa

“Mortality in Anorexia Nervosa” was an interesting article that covered the death rate of those with Anorexia Nervosa compared to the death rate of normal subjects without Anorexia Nervosa.

Listed below is his abstract. http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/ajp.152.7.1073

OBJECTIVE: The author’s goal was to shed light on the debate regarding the mortality rate over time associated with anorexia nervosa.

METHOD: He conducted a meta-analytic study using weighted linear regression to combine crude mortality proportions from 42 published studies to estimate the mortality associated with anorexia nervosa over time.

RESULTS: The crude rate of mortality due to all causes of death for subjects with anorexia nervosa in these studies was 5.9% (178 deaths in 3,006 subjects). The aggregate mortality rate was estimated to be 0.56% per year, or approximately 5.6% per decade.

CONCLUSIONS: The aggregate estimated mortality rate for subjects with anorexia nervosa is substantially greater than that reported for female psychiatric inpatients and for the general population.

The largest issue is the popularity of being thin and that fat is not attractive or even healthy. So the thinner you are the more attractive you will appear to others. Unfortunately those with Anorexia Nervosa feel that they are never thin enough and don’t understand what being healthy and eating healthy mean.

Anorexia is both mental and a physical problem so a team approach covering both is the best answer. Counseling, therapy, nutritional treatment, medical treatment in many different forms can be used for Anorexia Nervosa. There are many different participants in the treatment which includes doctors, psychologists, and dieticians. The most important person in the circle of treatment is family and friends that are needed for support of those who are ill. Not being the food police is a huge important factor that also needs to be taken into consideration so that the ill feel comfortable around them and find them as allied force not an enemy one.

3 thoughts on “W3 Activity: Mortality in Anorexia Nervosa

  1. Hey Paul,
    Great topic, I hadn’t considered Anorexia Nervosa to be a culture-bound syndrome but it is seem more commonly among certain cultures more than others. Treatment for many CBS’s can include a variety of methods, and I liked how you explained some of them for anorexia.
    Culture can be defined as the sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs shared by a particular society, group, place or even time. There are many ways in which culture is transmitted through language, religion, cuisine, social habits, and even music.
    I think the social habits aspect is what you talked about most. In our American culture it is popular to be considered thin or skinny. This puts a lot of pressure on people, and for some the pressure gets to be too much. I agree with what you said, people who suffer from Anorexia Nervosa have a hard time understanding what it means to be healthy and eat healthy. Their judgment is skewed, and it causes even more of a mental illness.
    I’m not entirely sure how anorexia nervosa would be explained in a different ethnomedical system or in a different culture. However, it might be best to explain it as a mental illness that causes unsafe eating habits and behavior.

  2. Hi Paul!
    I noticed that you made a lot of important points about anorexia nervosa in your write-up. I especially like how you labeled the idea of thin=attractive/healthy as an issue in today’s society.
    Since culture is a part of society that influences the behavior of everyone within it, I feel it is appropriate to deem anorexia nervosa as an undeniably culture-bound syndrome. Without the pressure of society for women (and yes, men as well) to look a certain way, people wouldn’t feel the need to look, or even act a certain way to be accepted within social cliques or to be able to find a mate.
    The advantage of using the term CBS when describing anorexia nervosa is that we can get to the root of the issue and try what we can to correct the exaggerated ideals of male and female body-types. This can be done through image representation, confidence exercises, and incorporating people with all sorts of body types into popular media like T.V. shows, advertisements, etc.
    I personally haven’t heard of any societies in the modern world which favor heavier people as more attractive, but perhaps if we think of a time period like the Renaissance, we can determine what people believed to be the value of a person having more fat on their body. As most people already know, women of that time who were fat were considered to be beautiful and sexy because they showed the human body’s “pureness” and “God-given qualities”. The difference today is that we know that being overweight (or more often obese) can pose a threat to one’s health. Why does that have repercussions on what we find attractive? We may never know.

  3. Hello Paul,
    It is interesting to think of Anorexia ad a cultural bound syndrome. I guess it is more prevalent in the western culture than it is in other parts of the life. Culture in my own words is a collection of beliefs or system of beliefs that a group of people share. An advantage of this being categorized as a CBS is to recognize that the media causes issues in western culture where people are not happy with their appearance. I recall studies from past classes that talk about how girls in Africa did not start starving themselves to look a certain way until they were introduced to western media outlets. A disadvantage to categorizing this syndrome as a CBS would be to be so naive as to say that only a certain culture is susceptible to this issue. This syndrome would be better defined in terms of a society issue because society says that certain individuals should look the ideal way. The fact that this drives people to starve themselves is terrible but it does happen. I believe that the reason that the western society is so affected by this issue is due to the fact that we are so intertwined with media. A different culture may interpret anorexia as having a spiritual issue.

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