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Open book test 2
The National Institute of Health and Clinical excellence suggests that 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder (Beat, 2010). However, more recent research from the NHS information centre showed that up to 6.4% of adults displayed signs of an eating disorder (Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, 2007).The two main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. The third category is EDNOS (eating disorders not otherwise specified), which includes several variations of eating disorders such as binge eating. Out of the 6.4% adults found to display signs of eating disorders; 10% of sufferers are anorexic, 40% are bulimic, and the rest fall into the EDNOS category (Beat, 2010). It’s a sad truth that most young people at some point in their adult development will experience worries about their weight and/or shape.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight, a distortion of body image and intense fear of gaining weight (www.athealth.com). Most people suffering from anorexia appear to outsiders as ‘normal’ but believe that they are ‘ugly’. (Independence, 2010, page 1). People suffering with Bulimia nervosa also worry about weight; but they alternate between eating next to nothing and binge eating. They then vomit or take laxatives to maintain their weight (Independence, 2010, page 1). Signs of eating disorders range from missing meals, claiming they have already eaten or eating alone to complaining of being fat even though they have a normal weight or are underweight. Eating disorders are associated with severe medical and psychological consequences, including death, growth and developmental delay and significant medical complications in all of the primary human organ systems, including the skeleton and the skin. Change in skin is a pointer to the diagnosis of eating disorders. It is a consequence of starvation and/or malnutrition, self-induced vomiting and drug consumption (Mazzola, A. 2007).  A clinical study was performed on 20 patients with eating disorders to describe skin signs in eating disorders. The dermatological examination included the entire skin, oral cavity, hair and nails. The most frequent skin manifestations were nail changes, hyper pigmentation, alopecia, gingivitis and acne. In all patients included in a two years follow-up, these manifestations improved in relation to the increase in BMI. The conclusion was that the earlier the eating disorder is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis (Mazzola, A. 2007). Other signs of eating disorders are: irregular periods, large amounts of food disappearing from cupboards, going to the bathroom straight after meals and excising excessively. Symptoms include: feeling cold, headaches and blackouts, tiredness, hair loss, withdrawal from social situations and lack of confidence (Independence, 2010, page 1).

Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a variety of factors, including physical, psychological, interpersonal, and social issues (National Eating Disorder Association, 2005). From a biological perspective; research has found that female relatives of anorexia sufferers were 11.4 times more likely to suffer from anorexia compared to relatives of unaffected participants. For female relatives of those with bulimia, the likelihood of developing bulimia was 3.7 times that of those with unaffected relatives (Beat, 2010). From a behavioural perspective; negative influences within the family; such as poor parenting; may play a major role in triggering eating disorders (Simon, H. 2009). One study found that 40% of 9-10 year old girls tried to lose weight with the urging of their mothers. Another behavioural cause can be due to a history of abuse. Women with eating disorders, particularly bulimia, appear to have reported sexual abuse rates as high as 35% (Simon, H. 2009). The media is an important aspect of the...
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