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An In-depth Look at Two Main Eating Disorders Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimi Nervosa

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How a person perceives their body is influenced by what it looks like to them and what it looks like to others. Our society teaches us through media and social pressure that body image is important. Feeling attractive is an important part of self worth and for many, feeling attractive means matching a certain ideal appearance. Most of us will never be able to look like this ideal, but the message we get is that we risk social failure if we do not try hard enough. When we believe this message we may feel incompetent and depressed and have low self-esteem because we cant meet impossible standards of appearance.

The two main types of eating disorders Anorexia Nervosa, and Bulimia Nervosa, also known as binge eating. There are many health and mental complications that go along with these two problems. The major complications of binge eating disorder are the diseases that accompany obesity. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, gallbladder disease, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. People with binge eating disorder are extremely distressed by their binge eating. Most have tried to control it on their own but have not succeeded for very long. Some people miss work, school, or social activities to binge eat. Obese people with binge eating disorder often feel bad about themselves, are preoccupied with their appearance, and may avoid social gatherings.

Most feel ashamed and try to hide their problem. Often they are so successful that close family members and friends don’t know they binge eat. Things that can cause binge eating are still unknown, but half the people with an eating disorder have a history of depression. Whether depression is a cause or effect of binge eating disorder is unclear. It may be unrelated. Many people report that anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety or other negative emotions can trigger a binge episode. Impulsive behavior and certain other psychological problems may be more common in people with binge eating disorder. Dieting’s effect on binge eating disorder is also unclear. While findings vary, early research suggests that about half of all people with binge eating disorder had binge episodes before they started to diet. Still, strict dieting may worsen binge eating in some people. (Orey, 1999) There is help for those who have Bulimia though, through little steps, they can beat it. Especially if it is obtained in the early stages and there have been no major problems happen to the person.

The other major type of eating disorder is Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by constant dieting, rapid weight loss and the feeling of being too fat during weight loss. Most anorexics are women and teenage girls, who see themselves as being overweight even though they are deathly underweight. The term “Anorexia Nervosa” means loss of appetite due to nerves, but the people with anorexia do not actually lose their appetite until the late stages of their starvation. Until then, they do feel hungry but they will not eat. There are numerous physical signs of anorexia, but there are four main ones. There is rapid loss of body fat, wasting away of body fat, pale dry skin, and irregular heart beat. An anorexic may also have dehydration and fainting may occur.

Anorexia also has many effects on the inside of the body as well. Anorexia may result in the shrinkage of internal organs, including the kidneys, heart, and brain.. As the heart muscle weakens, an irregular heart rhythm and heart failure are possible. Some other complications are: inability to concentrate, constipation and difficulty urinating, muscle aches and cramps swelling of joints, injuries to nerves and tendons, and digestive problems. Poor nutrition and vomiting can damage teeth and gums that can cause cavities and gum diseases. A person may also lose the ability to reproduce. Rigid dieting greatly reduces female hormone levels, disrupting the menstrual cycle, and therefore can cause problems with reproduction.

Anorexia Nervosa occurs much more frequently in females than in males. The statistics show that 90% of all anorexics are females. Most often anorexia develops during adolescence or young adulthood, although there is some evidence that it may occur at a later age. Recent estimates suggest that one out of every two hundred and fifty teenage girls will develop anorexia.

There are no know reasons for either anorexia or bulimia, but for anorexia some people believe that its the fear or growing up that could be a possibility for it. Another reason could be a rebellion against parents who set standards that are to high, consequently pressure mounts on the child and anorexia may start..

Another reason maybe that, in our culture “thin is in” and dieting is normal behavior. All experts believe that food is not the central problem. Although its focus is on food, anorexia is an illness of the mind. Often it begins with a relatively normal desire to lose a few pounds, then it becomes an addiction to be thin or to lose weight.

Treating anorexia nervosa is a combination between psychological treatment and medical consultations into one coherent whole. Psychological treatment (psychotherapy) may include either individual or family therapy, but it helps if the family is involved because of the support for the person. Like Bulimia, it takes baby steps to beat this problem too, and you cant just rush right into it and expect to get rid of it. Anorexia can be very devastating to a persons health physically and mentally.

Women and men need to develop personal skills that will help them feel good about themselves without placing an emphasis on physical appearance. No one should rely on dieting, excersize, and dressing to determine one’s self worth.

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