Mirror, mirror, on the wall, whos the fattest one of all?
Men and women of all ages, races and incomes get eating disorders. Almost eighty percent of people with eating disorders started with dieting. Experts estimate one in four college women are bulimic. Did you know ninety percent of women overestimate their weight and everyday fifty six percent of women are on a diet. It is also not surprising that eating disorders are on the increase because of the value society places on being thin. Women especially are given the message at a very young age in order for them to be happy and successful they have to be thin. Did you also know the average model weighs twenty three percent less then an average woman. According to medical standards they fit into having a disorder. Diet commercials are constantly appearing on television screens telling us that losing weight will make everyone happy. Over five million American men
and women suffer from eating disorders. (Vollstadt 45) Depression, shame, and agonizing sense of isolation is caused by eating disorders, they disrupt families, schools, and damages careers. Its unfortunate, but in todays society, people have forgotten that its whats on the inside that counts, not whats on the outside.
One percent of teenage girls in the US develops anorexia nervosa and up to ten percent of those may die as a result.(AABA 3) Anorexia nervosa is a disorder in which preoccupation with dieting and thinness leads to excessive weight loss. The individual may not acknowledge that his or her weight loss or restrictive eating is a problem. Most women and an increasing number of men are motivated by the urge to become thin. Anorexics usually strive for perfection. They usually have a low self-esteem and sometimes feel that they dont deserve to eat. Denying the problem occurs most of the time. There are many warning signs for anorexia. Some of the signs are having a noticeable weight loss, becoming withdrawn, lots more exercise, fatigue, weakness in muscles, headaches, and a different attitude towards others. Theres many more, but just look at the ones here and say that they arent dangerous. There are also many medical conditions
to go with this disease like hair loss, bloating, cold hands and feet, etc. Some people wear baggy clothes to make themselves feel skinnier then they already are and they still feel the urge to lose more weight. Anorexics close to death will show you on their bodies where they feel they need to lose weight. No matter what their weight is, they still feel fat and need to lose more weight. It is not uncommon for someone who develops the disorder to starve his/herself until they weigh just 60 or 70 pounds. Researchers have discovered that a part of the brain called the hypothalamus begins to work improperly after the onset of anorexia. The hypothalamus controls such activities as maintenance of water balance, regulation of body temperature, secretion of the endocrine glands and sugar and fat metabolism.(ANAD 16) Further studies are needed, however, to determine if anorexia patients have a biological predisposition to develop the illness.
Bulimia is an eating disorder that involves eating binges followed by quickly purging, using laxatives, and other efforts. It is also related with anorexia, but doesnt have the large weight loss that goes along with it. It can cause gastrointestinal problems, potassium depletion, and damage to teeth from the acid in regurgitated food. Bulimia usually develops during adolescence, especially among females, from pressures including the social emphasis on sliminess. Just like an anorexic the bulimic uses self-destructive eating behaviors to deal with psychological problems that go deeper. An individual feels out of control and recognizes that the behavior is not normal. There are actually two different types of bulimia. There is the purging kind and the non-purging kind. The purging type: during the current episode of Bulimia Nervosa, the person has regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas. The non-purging type: during the current episode of Bulimia Nervosa, the person has used other inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as fasting or excessive exercise, but has not regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas. (MSB 1) Some warning signs may be vomiting, mood swings, depression, tooth decay, and irregular heartbeats. The list goes on and on. Some experience medical complications and physical problems like dizziness, shortness of breath, lack of energy, and some major organ damage. Its not looking good for some people who have bulimia.
Binge eating can be very dangerous to everyone. People who have this condition engage in frequent binges, but unlike a bulimic they dont purge. Food is used as a dysfunctional means of coping with psychological problems.Its usually followed by and intense guilt or shame from eating so much food. An individual usually experiences depression and other psychological problems. Almost forty percent of obese people may be binge eaters. (AABA 2) This eating disorder is mostly over-looked by people. It usually starts in childhood when eating patterns are formed. (Claude 80) There are a number of treatment options available for the compulsive overeater. Individual or group therapy and outpatient or even inpatient programs are certainly treatment options. There are also non-profit organizations available, which deal specifically with compulsive overeating. Many compulsive over eaters deal with weight gain, hypertension, heart ailments, and mobility problems. Seeking medical help would be best. Even though this disorder isnt as serious as the others it is still one that shouldnt be over looked.
When the problem is addressed initially, anyone needs to prepare oneself for all the possible reactions. Everyone who suffers with an eating disorder experiences a large amount of suffering and pain, but they are not the only ones who suffer. The ultimate goal should be to get that person to seek help. This person may become upset and/or angry also a chance that they become relieved that someone wants to help. People tend to isolate themselves and become very good at hiding the problem. Some may be confused about why the whole thing started, where to go for help, and how to approach the person. The best way to deal with it is to find out more and educate oneself on the situation. Many find themselves guilty , because they some how feel responsible for the persons actions. People with eating disorders are going to have low self-esteems and think they are worthless. They need to know they are loved and they are important . There is only so much help that they can take form people. Never forget that no one is hopeless and eating disorders can be beaten. It takes hard work and time to beat these giants.
There are many different approaches to treatment of eating disorder, no single philosophy works for everyone. Eating disorders are psychological problems that require therapeutic treatment. Sometimes patients require several different types of treatment before finding one that is helpful. A feeling of trust must exist if there is a therapeutic relationship if it is to be beneficial. Just remember recovery is possible and there is help out there for anyone.
Once again, it should be stressed that diets dont work. Eating three healthy meals a day, a few snack and doing some exercise, will allow your body to go to its natural point. Its important to remember that no one food will make you fat, as long as its eaten in small portions. Stop buying those fashion magazines and diet products, and stop believing all the lies that are on television. Focus on learning to love yourself. No number on a scale and fitting into a smaller dress size will not make everyone happy. Happiness can only come from within.
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