Eating Disorders Essay

Tabitha HernandezMrs. HammillBiologyJune 11th, 2012 Eating Disorders Eating disorders are a worldwide problem and effect the lives of many. Women are much more likely than men to develop an eating disorder. One of three women have eating disorders, most of these women began to have the eating disorder due to stress, depression, and anger. Eating disorders stem is often formed with problem with self image caused by the media. Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, biological, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors.

While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are most often about much more than food. People with eating disorders often use food and the control of food in an attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem over-whelming. For some, dieting, bingeing, and purging may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and to feel in control of one’s life, but ultimately, these behaviors will damage a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem, and sense of competence and control.

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Eating disorders are complex conditions that can arise from a variety of potential causes. Once started, they can create a self-perpetuating cycle of physical and emotional destruction. In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with the binge eating disorder. Because of secretiveness and shame associated with eating disorders, many cases are probably not reported. Many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and sub-clinical disordered eating attitudes and behaviors.

It has been shown that 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance. In 2003, review of literature has found that 40% of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls 15-19 years old. Only one-third of people with anorexia in the community receive mental health care. The majority of people with severe eating disorders do not receive adequate care. In March 2005, findings concluded from those surveyed that three out of four Americans believe eating disorders should be covered by insurance companies just like any other illness.

Americans believe that government should require insurance companies to cover the treatment of eating disorders. Four out of ten Americans either suffered or have know someone who has suffered from an eating disorder. Dieting and thrive for thinness is very common in America. Over one half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. Commonly eating disorders are accumulated by society.

The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds. Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women. Americans spend over $40 billion on dieting and diet-related products a year! The list is never ending on the different types of eating disorders there actually are. The three most common types of eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder.

Other eating disorders are mainly any combinations of the above listed. Anorexia Nervosa includes the symptoms of dramatic weight loss, dressing in layers to hide weight loss, constantly preoccupied with weight, food, calories, and dieting, makes frequent comments about feeling “fat” or overweight despite weight loss, denies feeling hungry, withdrawals from usual friends and activities and becomes more isolated and secretive, concerned about eating in public, intense fear or weight gain.

Bulimia Nervosa symptoms include, general behaviors or attitudes indicating weight loss or dieting, control of food becoming a primary concern, drinking excessive amounts of water, maintains excessive rigid exercise regimen, has secret re-accurring episodes of binge eating, skips meals or takes small portions of food, engages in fasting or repetitive dieting, body weight varies from normal to mild, moderate, or severe obesity. Other eating disorders are combined symptoms that are listed above. The inner voices of anorexia and bulimia whisper that you will never be happy until you lose weight, that your worth is measured by how you look.

But with treatment and support, you can overcome your eating disorder and gain true self-confidence The road to eating disorder recovery starts with admitting you have a problem. This admission can be tough, especially if you are still clinging to the mind- that weight loss is the key to happiness, confidence, and success. Recovery is about rediscovering who you are beyond your eating habits, weight, and body image. True recovery from anorexia and bulimia involves learning to listen to your body, listen to your feelings, trust yourself, accept yourself, love yourself, and to enjoy life again.

Your eating disorder treatment plan may include, impatient treatment, individual or group therapy, eating disorder education, nutritional counseling, family therapy, and medical monitoring. While there are a variety of different treatment options available for those struggling with eating disorders, it is important to find the treatment or combination of treatments, that works best for you. It is not surprising that eating disorders are on the increase because of the value society places on being thin.

In North America, women are given the message at a very young age that in order to be happy and successful, they must be thin. Every time you walk into a store you are surrounded by the images of emaciated models that appear on the front cover of all fashion magazines. Thousands of teenage girls are starving themselves this very minute trying to attain what the fashion industry considers to be the “ideal” figure. Eating disorders are a serious disease and hope to treat a patient suffering from this disease will hopefully grow with time as we start to notice the rapid impact of people striving to be thin.