Eating Disorders Essay

Eating Disorders Essay

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Eating Disorders Eating disorders are a growing problem in teenagers of today. According to an Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) study, eighty-six percent of eating disorder victims report their problem before the age of twenty. The two main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that usually strikes women. There are about seven million women who have anorexia, and many of them will die of complications. This disease is defined as self-starvation, leading to a body weight that is 15% below normal. Accompanied with the weight loss are hyperactivity, hypothermia, and amenorrhea. Hypothermia is when the body's natural insulation deteriorates and the person becomes cold all the time. Amenorrhea is skipping at least three menstrual cycles. Anorexia may be hard to detect. It often starts out as a regular diet. The affected person often begins to engage in excessive exercise so they can loose more weight. In the more dangerous stages of the disease, the victim usually wears baggy and layered clothes to hide their condition. No matter how thin the victim becomes, she still feels too fat, and continues to diet. There are two sub-types of anorexia nervosa. The first is the restricting type. People fitting this type do not engage in binge eating or purging. The second type, binge eating/purging, is exactly the opposite. The victim does engage in binge eating and purging. One in ten cases of anorexia leads to death, either by starvation, cardiac arrest, or suicide. There are many other less serious physical complications of anorexia. Victims may suffer from dry skin, brittle nails, hypothermia, and anemia, just to name a few. Anorexia does not just cause physical problems. Psychological complications are also often obvious in anorexia victims. The majority of individuals with anorexia also suffer from clinical depression. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, an illness characterized by repetitive thoughts and behaviors, can also accompany anorexia. Individuals with anorexia are typically compliant in personality but may have sudden outbursts of hostility and anger or become socially withdrawn. Bulimia nervosa is the other most common eating disorder. This disorder is also most common in women. It is defined as an illness involving uncontrolled episodes of overeating, or binging, usually followed by self-induced vomiting, or purging. These episodes may occur several times a day. The affected person usually realizes that something is wrong, and may feel guilty about the binge/purge episodes. Like anorexia, there are two types of bulimia. The first is the purging type. Individuals affected by this type regularly engage in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas. The nonpurging type is evident when the person uses inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as not eating or excessive exercise, but does not purge regularly. Also like anorexia, death can result from a severe case of bulimia, though there are many other symptoms. A person with bulimia may suffer from dental enamel erosion, swollen cheeks, irregular menstrual periods, and even heart failure. Some individuals with bulimia struggle with addictions, including drug abuse and compulsive stealing. Like those with anorexia, many people with bulimia suffer from clinical depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. All of these problems together put the bulimic at a greater risk of suicide. Currently, there are one million men and seven million women affected with an eating disorder. Since 86 percent of victims report their illness by age twenty, educations programs should definitely focus on these ages to prevent the diseases. Perhaps someday, there will be better prevention and treatment programs, so that there will be one less disease that takes people’s lives.

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