“No one knows exactly what causes eating disorders. However, all socioeconomic, ethnic and cultural groups are at risk” (Matthews, 2001, p.3). Eating disorders are difficult to diagnose but can be deadly if left untreated. Background The Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness (n.d.) observes, Eating disorders affect five to ten million Americans adolescent girls and women and approximately one million American boys and men. In addition, approximately 70 million individuals in the world struggle with this disorder.
It focuses on its bad effect to the health of an individual and to the society. Perhaps you do not have this kind of eating disorder but you are definitely affected by it. Bulimia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a secretive cycle of bingeing and purging. Binge eating is the uncontrolled consumption of large amounts of food lasting a few minutes to several hours. Purging or ridding the body of food eaten during a binge through self-induced vomiting, laxatives, fasting, severe diets, or vigorous exercise follows this.
They believe that eating disorders could possibly come from a mix of family history, social factors, and personality traits. Anorexia Nervosa People who have anorexia nervosa have a potent fear of gaining weight; due to this fear, victims of this disorder limit their food intake. These limitations can cause you to become very, very thin and eventually become very sick. Anorexia affects the body and mind. You start off dieting and then things quickly spin out of control.
Many studies show various contributing factors that may lead a person into the development of an eating disorder. An individual may become a victim of an eating disorder due to problems in their social or personal lives. The causes of eating disorders are not factors of just one specific situation, but can root from many areas of ones life. Studies have narrowed down what seems to be the most popular causes for a person to develop these eating disorders. Severe disorders in individuals’ eating habits can stem from many factors including but not limited to childhood and adulthood emotional, physical and sexual abuse, poor body image, substance abuse, and their living environment.
Although there are similarities, each disorder has its own unique characteristics. A major symptom of bulimia is binging and purging. Bulimics practice binging, eating large amounts of food at one time, and purging, causing themselves to vomit, or defecate, in an attempt to prevent weight gain (Reyes 1). Anorexics, however, restrict their diets and starve themselves in attempt to stay thin and if possible, lose more weight (“Anorexia Nervosa” 1) Like any other illness, eating disorders need to be diagnosed by a health care professional. People with eating disorders may also have psychological problems (WebMD.Com Eating 1).
Eating disorders slowly deteriorate your body, beginning with your brain, leading to the start of mental illnesses. Although people suffering with eating disorders know that their body is degenerating, they become ignorant towards their disease and fail to recognize their problem until it is too late. Eating disorders come in many forms, with the three main types being Anorexia Nervosa (Anorexia), Bulimia Nervosa (Bulimia), and Binge-Eating. They each differ in the way that the person affected deals with the food presented. Anorexia, meaning without appetite according to Random History, is an eating disorder where one fears gaining weight, so one self-starves (Rust).
Although there are plenty different types of eating disorders, the main ones that will be focused on in this paper are: anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. Eating disorders are tremendously serious health conditions and without proper knowledge and help, they can quickly spin out of control. Informing yourself about the varying types of eating disorders is essential if you wish to understand the causes and effects of them. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a limited intake of food, starving oneself, and even exercising profusely to rid one’s body of what they consider to be extra calories. Fear of gaining weight or becoming overweight is ordinarily seen in those with anorexia and bulimia.
What are eating disorders?. NIMH. Retrieved rom http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/what-are-eating-disorders.shtml Soh, N. L., Touyz, S. W., & Surgenor, L. J. (2006). Eating and body image disturbances across cultures: a review.
The Influence of Family Functioning on Eating Disorders Understanding the etiology of an eating disorder is perhaps the most complicated issue surrounding the disease, as teasing apart cause and consequence can be extremely difficult. This problem becomes immediately apparent when examining family factors associated with eating disorders. Research over the past decade has focused largely on identifying family factors that potentially contribute to the development of an eating disorder in an individual, and further refining these characteristics into prototypes for the “anorexic family” or the “bulimic family.” Identifying a pattern of specific family risk factors would be an extremely useful tool in recognizing those vulnerable for developing an eating disorder. While the research has been unable to paint an entirely complete picture of family characteristics, certain traits surface as typical to the eating disordered family. Unfortunately, much of the existing literature on family factors and eating disorders relies upon correlational data, as controlled studies are difficult to conduct within a family setting.
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by loss of control over eating which leads to food binges. These episodes are interspersed with episodes of purging, such as vomiting or laxative abuse, to keep weight down. The goal of anorexia is also to keep weight down , but to a more severe extent. Anorexia nervosa is marked by "a relentless pursuit of thinness, intense fears of becoming fat, and a distorted body image" (Lilenfeld 1996). There is a substantial weight loss and amenorrhea.