Topics: Eating disorders, Bulimia nervosa Pages: 10 (1889 words) Published: September 7, 2015

Eating Disorders:
A Worldwide Health Concern
Gianna Lombardo
Plantation High School

In my introduction I will address how eating disorders are worldwide health concerns that affect numerous people of different age, gender, and race. In my body paragraphs I will discuss the treatable, mental conditions of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. This research paper as a whole will identify and discuss the three distinct types of eating disorders, the causes and treatments for each, and who is affected by them. Keywords: eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, treatment, causes

Eating Disorders: A Worldwide Health Concern
Eating disorders are defined as “illnesses in which the people experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions” (APA, 2015). Despite the general consensus that eating disorders only affect young women, in actuality men and women of all ages are affected. Over the course of time they have become increasingly prominent, especially within today’s culture that revolves around body image. These illnesses can trigger multiple side effects in eating behavior and weight management such as depression, vomiting, and bingeing. The following paragraphs will discuss the three main types of eating disorders, what they are, the causes, the treatments, and who they affect. Types of Eating Disorders

The term anorexia means “loss of appetite” in Greek. Those who suffer from anorexia nervosa don’t actually lose the impulse to eat, but rather they refrain from eating or exercise compulsively in order to avoid the weight gain they fear, resulting in excess weight loss. These individuals have “an intense feat of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight” (APA, 1994). The illness is characterized by low self-esteem, low body weight, constipation, reduced menstruation (in women), thinning of the bones, and other symptoms. Health problems that result from prolonged anorexia include hormonal changes, anemia, and fertility issues.

The term bulimia stems from a Greek word that means “ox-hunger”. Bulimia is characterized by episodes of bingeing, or periods of excess eating, followed by episodes of purging, or getting rid of the food by vomiting, taking laxatives, etc. This disorder tends to be more common than anorexia, and typically reaches its peak during adolescence. Contrasting with anorexia, those who have bulimia usually have normal weights, if not are slightly overweight, but they too fear gaining weight. In order to be considered bulimic, “a patient must binge and purge at least twice a week for 3 months” (Simon & Zieve, 2013). Symptoms include an inflamed throat, decaying teeth, dehydration, acid reflux disorder, and others. Health problems that result from prolonged bulimia include esophagus damage, cavities, low potassium levels, and water retention.

Binge eating disorder is the most prominent eating disorder of the three being discussed. To “binge” is to eat excessively in a brief period of time at a loss of control. Those who binge tend to have feelings of disgust or shame when they finish their episodes. Just merely eating a lot at once doesn’t automatically characterize someone to have the disorder, but according to Munsch and Beglinger these habits must be “recurrent at least twice a week for a 6-month period” (Munsch & Beglinger, 2005). Binge eaters typically eat numerous meals a day in large portions in addition to the frequent snacks they consume. The difference between binge eating disorder, bulimia and anorexia is that bingers do not attempt to get rid of any food they’ve consumed or lower their body weight. Causes of Eating Disorders

The causes of eating disorders range from merely socio-cultural factors to biological and genetic factors. Society, for one, plays a major role in the development of these disorders. Models and celebrities set unrealistically...
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