Eating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia and Ed-Nos

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Eating disorders are common in a culture with being obsessed with body image, dieting, and fast food (Jacobs, C). Dissatisfaction with our body and dieting can often lead to dangerous and unhealthy eating habits. More and more eating habits are patterns leading to eating disorders (Jacobs, C). We now are aware of these different types of illnesses; and they are treatable and people are ready to help you (Jacobs, C). There are three main types of eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and ED-NOS (“Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified”) (Jacobs, C). I will be discussing all three types of eating disorders, what they are, health complications and how they can be treated.

History of Eating Disorders
I want to give you a brief history of eating disorders, before I start talking about them. In ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Persian manuscripts, there are descriptions of eating disorder very common to what we call anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa ( In the scrolls of early Chinese dynasties, there has been mentioned of similar behaviors to starvation and stuffing ( In Ancient Roman, at lavish banquets, Romans would overindulged and then relieve themselves in a vomitorium (lavatory chamber that accommodated vomiting) so they could return to the banquet and finish eating (

African tribal lore contains stories of people who refused to eat during famine time, so they could give the little bit of food they had available to their children ( When the famine passed, some people still refused to eat and were in danger of drying from starvation ( Some people were healed by Shamans, who induced trance states, which is similar to hypnotherapy (

In 1689, Richard Morton in London made the first description of anorexia nervosa in medical literature. He was credited with describing anorexia patients as “a skeleton clad only with skin” ( In 1873, Lasegue in France and in 1874 Gull in England wrote two of the first articles about anorexia nervosa in modern medical literature (

Anorexia nervosa was first thought to be a form of tuberculosis or a manifestation of some other physical disease or disorder, related to endocrine deficiency or hormone imbalance ( But it was not until the 1930s, that research started to believe that self-starvation were emotional and psychological ( Today, we believe, eating disorders represent the final outcome of emotional distress interacting with physiological imbalances (including imbalance from dieting) in individuals who are vurnable ( There are effective treatments out there, which will address both the physical and physiological factors (

Eating disorders are most common in western nations where food is abundant, but you can find eating disorder all around the world (Sifton, D.W., 2003). Most experts agree that the United States cultural influence at work contributes to the development of eating disorders (Sifton, D.W., 2003). Women are constantly bombarded with the “thinner-is-better” messages (Sifton, D.W., 2003).

The number estimated in eating disorder varies, because the disorder can remain undetected until serious health problems and are often characterized by secretive behaviors (Sifton, D.W., 2003). In this country it is estimated that one to three percent of adolescent and young adult women have an eating disorder (Sifton, D.W., 2003). It has been estimated by The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorder (ANAD), an educational and self-help organization, that seven million women and one million men have eating disorders (Sifton, D.W., 2003).

In the past two decades, the medical and psychiatric communities have had a growing interest in eating disorders (Sifton, D.W., 2003). There are many programs available to help treat eating disorders, family...
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