Eating disorders are very common these days. What are eating disorders? According to the website I found, Adolescence Issue: Eating Disorders, an eating disorder is a severe disturbance in eating behavior, as well as unhealthy efforts to control body weight and abnormal attitudes about one s body and shape. The most commonly known eating disorders are Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa. What does it mean to be Bulimic or Anorexic? According to the website Vital Information, Bulimic means you basically never stop eating. You just keep going and going. One quote I found on the same web page is ox like hunger of nervous origin. This rapid consumption of large amounts of food sometimes leads to vomiting or purging. Those that are bulimic usually have twenty percent more body fat then those that are not bulimic. The symptoms for Bulimia start at any age from early adolescence to forty years of age. This becomes very serious in the late adolescence. Anorexia usually appears in early or middle adolescence. This happens when a person begins to starve themselves and exercises compulsively. The weight of the person drops and their bodies become unhealthy. The person will keep denying how thin they have become. Despite their refusal to eat, their appetite is usually normal, at least at first. Their reasons for rejecting food are a mystery that researchers are still trying to solve. People with this disorder will never become satisfied with their looks. Which is worse, Bulimia or Anorexia? According to the Harvard Mental Health website, Bulimia is not as dangerous to your health as Anorexia. Although it is not as dangerous, it still has physical effects including weakness, constipation, fluid retention, swollen salivary glands, sore throat from vomiting, and scars on the hand from inducing vomiting. According to a researcher, those that suffer Anorexia are less stable emotionally and more likely to commit suicide. What are some warning signs of eating disorders? How do you determine if you are merely weight conscious or if you have an eating disorder? Do you think of food nearly 75% of the day or more? According to the website Anred.com, there are many signs to look for. These signs include, unexplained changes in weight, food consumption or exercise, negative demeaning judgement towards self about body, use of amphetamines or stimulants to lose weight, preoccupied with feelings of shame and guilt about there eating behavior and body, believe that their experiences in life are dramatically affected by their body weight. Others include, fear of gaining fat, rigid control or exercise or food intake to prevent gaining fat. Any type of purging, vomiting, diuretics, laxatives, and restricting food. What kind of a person develops eating disorders? A website, Women and Men Eating Disorders, says that anyone is capable of getting an eating disorder. Any social class, age, race, and gender can be affected with this disorder. One-third of all Americans are now considered to be obese and 60% are overweight. Ten percent of all with eating disorders are men. Many clinicians believe this percentage of men with eating disorders is not quite accurate because many men hide it because they re ashamed. They believe it s only a woman s disease. There are many reasons why a person can develop an eating disorder. They many have been a victim of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. They may have been raised in a dysfunctional family where alcohol and drugs were abused or in a family that did not allow emotions to be expressed. The reason why some men get this disorder is the same as woman. Basically they have low self- esteem, are perfectionists, over achievers, have trouble expressing emotions, they feel unworthy and hate most everything about themselves. The number of women that suffer from this is much higher than men because men are not under the same pressure to be thin. What does a person with eating disorders look like? The Anred website says that their appearance and body image behaviors are different. They lose a lot of weight, fear weight gaining, wear baggy cloths and sometimes in layers to hide there fat. Also, they hide emotions, obsess about clothing size, complain he/she is fat, even though others truthfully say this is not so. Another thing is that they always criticize themselves. What about there feelings? They always have trouble talking about feelings, especially anger. For example, they always say something like Everything is ok or I am just tired and stressed. They usually become moody, irritable, snappish and touchy. Also they feel like they do not fit in. What happens with food behaviors? A person will skip meals, take only tiny portions, avoid eating in front of people, eat in ritualistic ways, and mix strange food combinations. Also they chew mouthfuls of food but spit them out before swallowing, and always have an excuse not to eat. Are there any treatments for those who suffer through eating disorders? The International Eating Disorders Center has treatments for those that suffer eating disorders. There s outpatient therapy where you are given a counselor to help you accept your self with what you look like. Also, there s Inpatient Therapy, which gathers everyone into groups so that the emotional feelings are all out and the therapist would help you with your feelings. Outpatient Level-System has six levels of training to get those with eating disorders to improve. It takes a month to finish each level. After you are done with your programs, there are aftercare services so that you can come back for help whenever you need to. Eating Disorder are a major problem in the U.S today. Many of us are suffering this disorder. No matter what kind of eating disorder you have, you should get help from somewhere. There are many places with people that are willing to help. The first thing is to come out and admit you have an eating disorder. Then you will at least have hope of being cured from this illness.