A Dangerous Way of Life: Eating Disorders

Smith (2004) has described that adolescents have complaints about their body and so many are dissatisfied with their body and live among media-generated fantasies of thinness. Recent studies claims that, between one-third and one-half of teenage women whose weight was normal perceived themselves as overweight. Many think being thin is, in and many young girls have many pressures on them to look good and to try to be perfect. Eating disorders are dangerous and anyone at any time can develop them; not all recover completely.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is basically self-starvation. These people are usually considered walking skeletons. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by severe weight loss and an unreasonable fear of being fat. They are stubborn, struggling, and appearance-obsessed individuals and don’t know when to stop dieting. Eating is scary but even scarier if the choice of food is made by someone else. Anorexics avoid and delay meals as long as possible. They actually think that one bite of food can make them gain weight. Many exercise and eat fruits and vegetables that are low in calories. The individual maintains a body weight that is about 15% below normal for age, height, and body type. Anyone can develop an eating disorder. There are some myths about only white high class women having eating disorders. Anorexia can develop at almost any age and at any time of life and children as young as seven and adults well into their senior years have been documented. A high percentages of people suffering from ano!rexia have a history of abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences.

Many turn to anorexia because it helps them cope with their difficulties and be able to concentrate on losing weight. In able to lose weight it takes s time, energy, and planning and this distracts them from their pain. Losing weight makes the individual feel special and powerful. No matter how many pounds they lose it’s never enough and being fat is the worst thing in the world to people suffering from anorexia. As soon as they meet their weight loss goals new ones are set. Research shows approximately 10% of anorexics are male, and anorexia is a response to a complex mix of cultural, social, familial, psychological, and biological influences unique to each person. Some experts say that anorexia usually develops in adolescence, but the majority of sufferers are adults. The first step in recovering anorexia is simply to choose life. Some studies show that “5-20 percent of people with anorexia die from complications from the disorder . It is possible to recover from anorexia, but it’s not easy It is important to get help as soon as possible.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is characterized as by episodes of binging and purging through vomiting, using laxatives, and compulsive exercising. People with bulimia nervosa eat large amounts of food then, then purge to remove it from their body, either by vomiting or the abuse of laxatives or diuretics. The urge to binge may be planned or just come suddenly. Binges can happen once a week or, as the condition worsens, several times daily. Bulimia is a more dangerous eating disorder because it has long lasting damage to the body. Bulimics almost always maintain a normal body weight and are extremely secretive about their disorder; family and friends may not even know of her problem until she is in the advanced stage of the disorder.

Many reasons why people develop bulimia are because low self- esteems, childhood conflicts, a feeling of helplessness, and a fear of becoming fat. Most people with bulimia tend to be uncomfortable with close, intimate relationships and that bulimia becomes their best friend and they believe that it’s the only one thing that they can count. Bulimia is definitely worth fighting against and the recovery process needs to begin as soon as possible before the behavior ends in death.

Binge Eating Disorder

The Binge Eating Disorder(BED) is sometimes refereed to compulsive overeating, emotional overeating, and food addiction. These people eat whether their hungry or not, they just don’t know when to stop. Compulsive eating and BED are the most common eating disorders, and BED is found in about 2% of the general population. However, experts estimate that as many as sixty to seventy million people suffer from some sort of eating disorder. “ The large increase in childhood obesity in the past decade is ominous”(Smith, 2004). “65% of Americans are over weight” (Strand, 2004). Binge eaters usually have very expensive grocery bills and stash food in their lockers, closets, cars, and go to food for comfort if anything badhappens. Some possible signs of (BED) are eating throughout the day even if their not hungry, bingeing for no apparent reason, feeling guilty after overeating, spending a lot of time thinking about food, spending a lot of money on food, and eating stressed or ups!et. They look at food as comfort and a reward to themselves.. BED often leads to other forms of eating disorders and start to purge after eating or not eat at all. According to Campbell (2002), light may be a deterrent to binge eating and people are more apt to give in to food cravings in dimly lit surroundings because they feel uninhibited. This disorder isn’t as serious as anorexia and bulimia but it leads to obesity, which brings serious health problems.


Eating disorders are serious and should be helped immediately to prevent serious damage to the body or death. A new discovery that was recently studied is, “Night Eating Syndrome, it’s a disorder in which individuals regularly wake one to three times a night to eat, consuming more than half their daily calories during these episodes” (Campbell ,2002). “Orthorexia is an unhealthy fixation with healthy eating and it has several serious diagnoses , like anorexia, it often involves severe weight loss but orthorexks are obsessed with food quality , rather than quantity and strive for personal purity in their eating habits(Strand, 2004). There are different types of treatment and therapy and a wide variety of approaches for different people to look at. Recovery is long and painful and has many stages to go through but it’s worth it in the end. Young patients usually progress more quickly and have a higher success rate than those who have suffered for many years. No one can put a! time frame on recovery. There are professional therapist that can help with support, listening and talking to them about what’s best. They could have a nutritional counselor that also offers support and educates the patient with their body’s nutritional need and has a food plan that will be accepted by the patient and the nutritionist. It has been proven that treatment is more successful when the patient enters with willingness. Family and Friends musty be supportive during recovery because recovery is long and painful and filled with ups and downs for the patient. They should never nag the patient about food or their weight. They should also have a therapist and a nutritionist working with them. In general, people must be very be careful to what they say to anyone that is going through an eating disorder because their self esteem is veryfragile. Even though society favors the outer appearance of someone’s body, the true beauty becomes from within. The best way to lose we!
ight is to eat healthy and to exercise.


I’ve learned a lot by writing this research paper and I enjoyed it. I expected these results because eating disorders are serious and I knew the signs of them because I recently have had someone I know diagnosed with anorexia. I was surprised to know about orthorexia and the NightEating Syndrome. These actually surprised me because they both are also very serious that can lead to unhealthy eating habits. I didn’t know that eating disorders are often coping mechanisms that help people deal with different issues, such as: painful events, low self-esteem, anger, negativity, anxiety about the future, loneliness, lack of control in their life and self-hatred. For many eating and dieting serves as a form of escape from emotional problems. People with eating disorders are perfectionists because they can’t handle stress, have a distorted body shape, and are constantly thinking about food, their weight , and their body shape. Even though society favors the outer appearance of some!one and a thin figure is usually what is seen. Skinny models are usually portrayed as being happy and successful. Magazines are a big problem because on the front page are tall, skinny, and beautiful role models but also, the captions all over the front page are talking about how to have firmer thighs, flatter stomach and tinier waist. Thin bodies are used to sell products and life-styles, implying that the right body can bring happiness and a perfect life. This is why many feel that theyhave to be skinny in order to be happy and successful. Many think being thin is, in and many young girls have many pressures on them to look good and to try to be perfect.

Also see:
NEDIC National Eating Disorder Information Centre

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