Eating Disorders are a Mental Illness

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Eating disorders are mental illnesses that involve an obsession with food, extremely unhealthy eating behaviors and a distorted body image. They are complicated, serious disorders. The group that eating disorders affects the most are typically girls through the ages of sixteen and twenty years old. Although teenage eating disorders are typically believed to be caused by depression or genetic factors, social media has worsened the problem by the huge increase in peer pressure girls endure due to the widespread use of sites such as Twitter and Instagram. Eating disorders are real, complex and devastating conditions that can have serious consequences for health, productivity and relationships. The two most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia (Parks 8). Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that makes people lose more weight than is considered healthy for their age and height. A person with this disorder may have an intense fear of weight gain, even when they are underweight. They may diet or exercise too much or use other ways to lose weight. (Parks 22). Bulimia is an illness in which a person binges on food or has regular episodes of overeating and feels a loss of control. The person then uses different methods, such as vomiting or abusing pills to prevent weight gain. Initial symptoms of anorexia include an obsession with food and dieting, weight loss, dizziness and fainting, and a pale, sickly appearance. Bulimia sufferers eat massive amounts of food and then disappear immediately after a meal in order to force themselves to vomit (Parks 8). Scientists believe that eating disorders result from a complex interaction of genetic, cultural and psychological factors. The cause of anorexia ... ... middle of paper ... ...ting behaviors and a distorted body image. Works Cited Parks, Peggy J. Anorexia. San Diego: n.p., 1951. Print. - - -. Teenage Eating Disorders. San Diego: n.p., n.d. Print. Radar, Jonathan. "Does the Media Cause Eating Disorders?" Ragan's Health Care Communication News. N.p., 12 Aug. 2012. Web. 6 Mar. 2014. . Silverthorne, Elizabeth. Anorexia and Bulimia. Detriot: Gale Cengage Learning, n.d. Print. Borzekowski, D.L.G., S. Schenk, J.L. Wilson, R. Peebles. 2010. e-Ana and e-Mia: A content analysis of pro-eating disorder web sites. American Journal of Public Health. 100: 1526-1534. Jett, S., D.J. LaPorte, J. Wanchisn. 2010. Impact of exposure to pro-eating disorder websites on eating behavior in college women. European Eating Disorders Review.
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