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The Economic and Social Impact of Eating Disorders in Australia

Table of Contents


Mental and physical health requirements of people with AN..



Introduction to Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is the constant restriction of energy consumption, afraid of gaining weight and bothered by self-perceived shape or weight. Eating disorders can be defined as a mental illness where an individual faces severe issues in their eating behaviours. Anorexia Nervosa is an example of such an eating disorder. Recent survey has proved that nearly 9% Australian population are affected by eating disorders and 3% from anorexia nervosa and the rate is continuously levelling up (Butterfly Foundation, 2012). In fact, nearly 15% Australian women suffer from an eating disorder during their entire lifetime (Anorexia nervosa, 2020). The Department of Health (2005) found out that the same year witnessed the highest death rate of all mental illnesses (20% in 20 years).

However, recently, in 2013, American Psychiatric Association identified that the crude mortality rate is nearly 5% per decade (Eating disorders Victoria, 2019). On the other hand, NEDC in 2010 found out that Anorexia’s standardised mortality rate is 12 times more than the annual death rate from other reasons among females aged between 15- 24. In the case of New Zealand, it has been found that approximately 1.7% of the population experiences an eating disorder and one third of it suffers from anorexia during their lifetime (Anorexia New Zealand, 2015).

Mental and Physical Health Requirements of People with AN

To date, no such medication has been discovered that certainly treats Anorexia. Hence, people diagnosed with and receiving from Anorexia Nervosa require self-care to meet the physical and mental health needs. For example, developing good eating habits can help the infected person to overcome the mental and physical illness. Physical health needs of a person with Anorexia Nervosa can be met by eating fruits, vegetables and whole grain. The same should not starve and must eat whenever he feels hungry. Pampering oneself with a long bath or walking through a garden can help the person in meeting both physical and mental health needs before and after AN. More specifically, it can be said that taking emotional help or support from others can help in dealing with the mental illness caused due to AN.

One should not forget that after being diagnosed with and after recovering from AN, it is essential for the close ones of the infected person to provide emotional support to the same as it is the basic physical and mental health needs at that time. Giving rest to the mind is also essential and is a mental health need for the person recovering from AN (WebMD, 2020). For a person recovering from AN, getting good sleep is indeed necessary for physical and mental stability.

Conclusion on Anorexia Nervosa

From the above discussion, it can be said that Anorexia Nervosa is a growing disorder in both Australia and New Zealand and needs to be curbed. Enough mental support is necessary for a person who has been diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa and is recovering from it. Even if this illness cannot be prevented fully yet its severity can be minimised along with its impact of the problem is treated properly and at early stage. 

References for Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa (2020). Anorexia nervosa. Retrieved on 05th October 2020 from https://www.nedc.com.au/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-explained/types/anorexia-nervosa/ 

Anorexia New Zealand (2015). Facts and Statistics (NZ). Retrieved on 05th October 2020 from https://anorexianz.weebly.com/statistics-nz.html

Butterfly Foundation (2012). Paying the price: the economic and social impact of eating disorders in Australia. Melbourne: Butterfly Foundation. 

Eating disorders Victoria (2019). Key research and statistics. Retrieved on 05th October 2020 from https://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/eating-disorders-a-z/eating-disorder-statistics-and-key-research/

The Department of Health (2005). Section 1: Anorexia nervosa - The facts. Retrieved on 05th October 2020 from https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-pubs-a-anorex-toc~mental-pubs-a-anorex-1 

WebMD (2020). Self-Care for Anorexia. Retrieved on 05th October 2020 from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa/self-care-anorexia#1

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