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June Engel (1993), found that today’s society’s idealization of thinness is producing an alarming increase in eating disorders especially among young women. The never-ending efforts to lose weight and conform to the media image of an “ideal” shape are leading more and more young people to diet at the cost of health. Weight – preoccupation is now widespread in our society, affecting the people of all ages, classes, occupations and ethnic backgrounds. June, Engel (1993) reported that once considered just a subclass of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa is now recognized as its own disease, occurring mainly in women aged 16 to 25, especially among high school students. Bulimia nervosa affects an estimated 2-4 percent of Canadian females aged 12-25 (and some adolescent males.) Like anorexia nervosa, it too involves extreme weight-preoccupation, but with alternate side effects of binging and fasting, vomiting and purging being common place after binges. Factors of Bulimia include a family history of alcoholism and depression.
National Institute of Mental Health (1993) reported that even though it’s easier to talk about anorexia and bulimia being different conditions, individual patients often suffer from symptoms of both. Indeed, it often happens that bulimia develops after a period of months or years of anorexic symptoms. Women suffer from these disorders 10 times more than men, and so this leaflet refers to the sufferer as “she”! Although often thought of as adult problems these disorders most often start in the teenage years while the sufferer is still at home.
Corben and Lindsey (1990) described that lots of people are becoming aware of obesity. Though these concerns are good, excessive concern for thinness is also a major problem (like Bulimia “a fear of obesity”.) June Engel (1993) illustrated that once you have an eating disorder sadly many remain eating – disordered and dissatisfied with themselves for life. Bulimics share the anorexic’s fear of losing control, being depressed, and obsessed with weight loss. Bulimics start on restricted diets but can never stick to them, and occupy their time in cycles of restricted eating, binging and self-inflicting vomiting and purging. They use a lot of laxatives, diuretics and sometimes even ipecac syrup (to force themselves to vomit.) When their dietary restraint breaks down, bulimics binge on cast amounts of food – cakes, desserts, hotdogs, whatever is appetizing, then they vomit it all up to avoid weight gain. Self-imposed vomiting, which may take hours per session, gets rid of only a few calories and is extremely hard on the digestive system, throat and heart.
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