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The Karen Carpenter Story Essay Research Paper

The Karen Carpenter Story Essay, Research Paper

Karen Carpenter


? Karen Anne Carpenter was a famous singer / drummer.

? She is part of a brother / sister duo.

? Several successful albums


? Karen was unhappy with her appearance.

? She started eating less and exercising more.

? She used laxatives and over the counter drug to vomit.

? She became an anorexic.


? Around 1975, her anorexia became severe.

? She was constantly under the public eye.

? In 1983, she died from Cardiac Arrest due to anorexia.


? Sunny California

? She died in her parent house in Downey, CA.


? There is no single cause for eating disorders.

? It may have occurred because of Social pressures.

Both of the Carpenter kids were born in New Haven, Connecticut to Harold and Agnes. Richard Lynn, the oldest of the duo, was born Tuesday October 15, 1946 at 12:53 a.m. Karen Anne, his younger sister, arrived four years later on Thursday March 2, 1950 at 11:45 a.m. Of course, at that time, Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter had no idea that their two children would become one of the most famous brother/sister pop duos ever.

Richard had started playing the piano at a very young age. His parents decided he would have a better chance in music if the family were in California. Also, Harold didn’t like New Haven’s cold winters. So, the Carpenter family packed their bags and moved west to sunny California. They settled in Downey. There, Karen’s musical talent started to blossom. She was a real tomboy and loved sports, but she disliked Downey High’s PE class. With Richard’s help, she was able to substitute the class for band. Karen started off playing the flute, but soon developed a true love for the drums. She played her Glockenspiel in the school’s marching band. There was one drawback, though. Karen’s parents couldn’t afford to buy Karen her own home set. So for a while Karen practiced on a bar stool

In 1969, Karen and Richard released their first album, Offering. The name was later changed to Ticket to Ride. Ten of the songs were written by Richard. Often, we think of The Carpenters as Karen Carpenter and her brother. We hardly ever give Richard any credit. Truly, Richard was the brains and arranging master of the group. He co-wrote many of the songs, arranged the albums, conducted, mixed, overdubbed, produced, sang backup and lead (in the first several albums), and he also played piano. Now, I’m not saying Karen was just there. She played drums for the first few years, sang lead, and co-produced. In my opinion, The Carpenters were an independent group. In 1970, when the Close to You album was released it was amazing. The band shot to the top of the charts. First, with Close to You, then, with We’ve Only Just Begun. That was the true beginning of their career. From then, they had many other hits. Superstar, Rainy Days and Mondays, and For All We Know just to name a few.

But, in 1975, the problems began. Karen was unhappy with her hourglass figure. She started exercising more and eating less. Richard was worried. Karen said she just wanted to get to 110, but 110 came and went. She used laxatives and later turned to Ipecac, an over-the-counter drug used to induce vomiting. Now, Richard wasn’t perfect during all this either. He had an addiction to sleeping pills. Fortunately, he overcame his habit, but Karen’s outcome wasn’t as good. In 1983, after almost 10 years of starving herself, Karen died. She collapsed in a wardrobe closet in her parents’ house on Newville Ave. in Downey, California. The cause of her death was Cardiac Arrest. She had been suffering from Anorexia Nervosa.

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder in which the person, or victim, starves his or herself to supposedly lose weight. This disease could involve using laxatives or drugs to induce vomiting. Ipecac is one of those drugs. When the person feels that he or she is overweight, they go to extreme measures like eating less and exercising more. They do this until they get to the desired size(not the desired weight) . Some victims will starve themselves down to even 70 or 60 pounds! This an extremely dangerous disease, and it is very difficult to overcome.

There is no single cause for eating disorders. According to Muuss, there are five theories that explain the possible cause of anorexia. This includes the Social theory, Psychosexual theory, Family systems theory, Biological theory, and Psychobiologic regression hypothesis. I believe, Karen Carpenter falls into the category of Social theory. The Social theory states that the anorexic is brainwashed by a culture that emphasizes being slim, so she becomes obsessed with food and diets.

The social pressures of Western culture certainly play a major role in triggering eating disorders. On the one hand, advertisers heavily market weight-reduction programs and present anorexic young models as the paradigm of sexual desirability; on the other hand, the media floods the public with ads for junk foods. Clothes are designed and displayed for thin bodies in spite of the fact that few women could wear them successfully. In Karen?s case as an entertainer she was always in the public eye. Karen always worried about the way she looked. She desired to look good in the cloths she wore on stage.

Along with societal problems, Karen also suffered from family problems. Late 1977, Karen was displaying more concern over Richard’s addiction than to her own health. She was strongly pushing Richard to seek treatment. Taking care of others is a very common trait with anorexics. Even with her “mini-stroke” and voiced concerns from friends, her own troubles were put aside

“The terrible tragedy of Karen?s death” says Levenkron who treated the singer for a year ” is that she had recovered from the anorexia nervosa when she died. She had gained the necessary weight, and after she left the hospital she never abused laxatives or misbehaved in any anorexic ways. She fought and battle and she had won.” Long years of self-imposed starvation, long with her addiction to laxatives simply took their toll. Karen wanted people to know anorexia could be cured.

If I was called to develop an intervention for Karen Carpenter or anyone else suffering from anorexia I would suggest many things. Anorexia is a complex illness and requires careful treatment. I read that a multidisciplinary treatment approach is the most effective method of treating anorexia. The team should be able to address the medical, psychological, dental, psychiatric, and nutrition needs of the patient. In Karen?s case I would have recommend individual psychotherapy, family therapy, group therapy, and nutritional counseling. In individual psychotherapy, I would address depression or anxiety that might explain the eating disorder along with social factors that influence eating behavior. The issue of body and self image would also be under consideration. Family participation is essential in recovery. The family should be involved throughout treatment. The family is to learn about the disorder and treatment goals. This serves for both the patient and family. With group therapy the anorexic (Karen) has an understanding that others are fighting the same disease. They might find support more from people that understand, rather then family and friends. Nutritional counseling should offer strategies for planning meals and eating healthy. Also to make patient and family aware of the effects of severe dieting. In Karen case she went through many of these treatments along with in-patient / residential treatment. When Karen was released, she was cured. The fact she waited so long took her life. In treating an anorexic the Karen Carpenter story is a prime example for anorexic woman. Anorexia is curable so don?t wait?. get help now.





http://Anerican Anorexia/ Bulimia Association.com

The Adolescent , F. Philip Rice

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