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Eating Disorders Essay, Research Paper

Eating Disorders: Physical and Psychological Damages

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and disordered eating. That?s all we see in the bathroom stalls on the seventh floor in Hayes ? Healy. What exactly are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and disordered eating? Anorexia, bulimia, and disordered eating are habits that become an eating disorder.

There are two sides to understanding the problems of eating disorders. One side is the emotional or psychological side that is affected by eating disorders. The other is the physical side. Eating disorders are harmful and can cause physical and psychological damage to ones body. According to Craig Johnson, Ph.D., and director of the eating disorders program at Laureate Hospital in Tulsa, Oak. Eating disorders exist because we live in a weight obsessed culture.

To understand the two sides of eating disorders, we must understand what an eating disorder is. Anorexia nervosa is and extreme food restriction and excessive weight loss. Bulimia nervosa is a cycle of binge eating followed by purging. Vomiting, laxatives or excessive exercise habits cause purging. The cycle starts again by binge eating. Another type of eating disorder is disordered eating. Disordered eating is a psychological disorder towards food, weight and body image that leads to very rigid eating and exercising habits. According to Marcia Herrin a co-director of Dartmouth College Education, Prevention and Treatment Program, five million to ten million females and one million males ranging from the ages fourteen to twenty-five have or has had some form of an eating disorder. A majority of girls are overly conscious of maintaining their figures and weights.

People with eating disorders resort to restricting their calorie intake and limiting the food they eat. The less one wants to eat the more their body will crave foods, especially foods that are high in sugar because the sugar boosts the energy level. By limiting your body to the nutrition it needs to stay healthy, your body can go into a deprivation mode that can trigger serious physical damages.

Any eating disorder can physically damage your body by adversely affecting your heart, reproductive system, nervous system, kidneys, and metabolism. Eating disorders can cause dizziness, fatigue, blood disorders, dry skin, and limp hair. An eating disorder can even increase the risks for an early onset of osteoporosis. Bulimia and vomiting can lead to painful stomachaches and or cramps, swelling at the neck glands which can lead to popped blood vessels in the face, constipation, diarrhea, and reflex vomiting. All these symptoms are small compared to death. There have been small cases that report deaths of people who have made themselves vomit, ruptured their esophagus and died. One death that jolted the nation to become more aware of eating disorders was the death of singer Karen Carpenter in 1983.

The other side to understanding eating disorders is the psychological damages done by eating disorders. To certain victims of eating disorders, food becomes somewhat like a drug. To some people they can find comfort to their problems by literally eating them away. In some cases food used as a comfort can lead to obesity or bulimia. By limiting the body to foods, the mind will focus on not eating, which leads to irregular mood swings. Moods can range for becoming irritable to being unable to concentrate. Being unable to concentrate and becoming irritable can lead to even worst psychological damages like receiving low grades, becoming a school drop out, not caring about extracurricular activities and close loved ones. While there are certain victims of eating disorders who withdraw themselves from others, other victims of eating disorders bond together by creating a binge sorority. This activity of eating and taking turns purging in the bathroom is more of a competition to see who can exist on the fewest calories then it is a bonding ritual. Based on Susan Mackey, Ph.D. clinical psychologist, and other experts say we can point fingers towards the media for encouraging your men and women to have a certain physical look.

490 of the largest colleges and universities (by student population) took a poll conducted by People found that 41% of the respondents who could estimate the prevalence of eating disorders on their campuses say that at least one in ten of their female students have had an eating disorder; 18% say the figure is at least one in five. 70% reported that eating disorders are widespread. 20% say it is pressure from peers and the media to stay thin.

The media has a major impact on young adults to fit this certain thin waif look. These days, young adults have to fit this certain image the media portrays to be accepted into the liked groups. Most young adults have a hard time fitting this image so they trigger the psychological side to the beginning of an eating disorder. The psychological side is the start to the physical side creating bad habits that will lead to an eating disorder.

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