The Alarming Rise of Eating Disorders
A health condition that up until recently has not had the public awareness that other illnesses receive.
Eating disorders may include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, or other eating disorders. People suffering from anorexia nervosa severely control their diet to the point of starvation. Studies show that suicide is 50 percent more likely among people suffering from anorexia than someone without an eating disorder.
Public awareness of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders was changed by Karen Carpenter’s death. Coupled by her fame as a singer and her young age of 32, captured public attention and received extensive media coverage. This also prompted other celebrities to come forward and share their experiences, such as Jane Fonda and Lynn Redgrave.
The Reality of Eating Disorders
Contrary to what many people believe, eating disorders are not just about the food, the food is only a symptom of what is really going on for the person. Eating disorder can affect anyone from any walk of life anorexia used to be described as the “rich teenage girls disease” not the case anymore both boys and girls are now effected and it has been detected in children as young as age 4.
Possible Link To Behavior Patterns
Many eating disorders are thought to be behavioral patterns stemming from emotional struggles that need to be resolved in order for the sufferer to develop lasting results and a healthy relationship with food. Compulsive overeating (along with anorexia and bulimia nervosa) is a serious problem and can result in death in severe cases. However, with treatment, which should include talk therapy, medical and nutritional counseling, it can be overcome. Several programs are designed to help with recovery from compulsive overeating and food addiction exist today.
The distinctions between eating disorders can be confusing. While anorexia and bulimia have several issues in common, other factors make them distinct. It is crucial that parents have an understanding of the differences, since early detection and proper treatment will significantly improve the chances of recovery. The information below will help distinguish between the two.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by obsessive attempts to lose weight, to the point of self starvation. A person with anorexia nervosa may exhibit a number of signs and symptoms, the type and severity of which may vary in each case and may be present but not readily apparent. Anorexia nervosa, and the associated malnutrition that results from self imposed starvation, can cause severe complications in every major organ system in the body.
Bulimia Nervosa is another specific diagnosis of eating disorder however it is characterized by repeated episodes of binging and purging behavior. This Binging behavior involves the action of eating a large amount of food in a short period of time. Purging behaviors can include acts of self induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications, fasting or excessive exercise.
Typically, eating disorders can show up at specific periods in development, which are usually sensitive and transitional periods such as puberty.
In women, eating disorders are a very real problem. This is not only due to hormonal changes in her body during menstruation but also to factors that are commonly considered as social. In fact, often peer pressure can cause a woman to change her eating habits, just so she fits in.
The Perfect Image – A documentary on eating disorders
Additionally, a woman who doesn’t like her appearance, & the way something looks, along with low self esteem, might deliberately cause herself harm by developing an eating disorder.
Are the pressures from society to blame for the increase in people diagnosed with eating disorders?
Society has become obsessed with being thin, in order to be accepted for both men and women. We are over exposed to advertisements for exercise programs, the newest exercise equipment, diet pills, diet plans, and nutritional supplements that are guaranteed to help you lose weight.
There are also other contributors to eating disorders, but the top two main culprits are fashion and culture. For many years, fashion models have been as thin as they could be, and anyone who wasn’t was rejected to be a model. Therefore, even narrowing the focus to women hoping to be models, there is insurmountable pressure to be stick thin. It’s no wonder eating disorders have become so prevalent.