Topics: Bulimia nervosa, Eating disorders, Binge eating Pages: 7 (1704 words) Published: April 21, 2014
The incidence of eating disorders has created widespread concern, and bulimia has emerged as the most common of these disorders. Environmental factors, genetics, and family influences have all contributed to the growth of bulimia in society. Bulimia leads to a multitude of medical issues that can result in death. This disorder also negatively impacts the people surrounding the bulimic as well as contributes to profound psychological issues. In order to potentially preclude the onset of bulimia, preventative measures are necessary. A variety of therapeutic approaches are successful in treating bulimic patients. Some medications are necessary in the recovery process. In the most serious of cases, inpatient programs boast success in combating bulimia. Bulimia is a complicated and rapidly escalating disorder; however, understanding the causes and treatment approaches can lead to a full recovery.

Bulimia is a type of eating disorder that has been growing in awareness over the past several years. “Bulimia means a constant and insatiable craving for food” (Davidson). The disease usually occurs in a woman’s late teens or early twenties (“Bulimia” 101). Bulimics engage in a pattern of bingeing and purging as a way to reach a desired weight. Bulimics feel an urge to binge on a large amount of food and then, immediately after, rid their body of everything consumed by purging (Kolodny 55). Along with purging, many bulimics use laxatives as a way to lose weight (“Bulimia Nervosa”). Bulimics often hide their disorder so doctors have a hard time diagnosing an individual. “Bulimics are determined to control their eating by strict food avoidance and often develop elaborate rules and systems, like anorectics, but they lose control of their misguided efforts” (Davidson). Bulimia is a disorder that consists of constant episodes of bingeing and purging along with the use of laxatives to lose weight.

Many causes for bulimia’s rapid growth in society are being discovered. In terms of environmental factors, experts cite the media as a leading cause. Magazines, movies, and television programs are rife with thin, beautiful women who are often role models for people in society (“Bulimia Nervosa”). Researchers found that, after looking through magazines at thin, airbrushed models, women feel less attractive about themselves (Orr 58). The desire to be as thin as the models and actresses seen everyday in the media can cause eating problems like bulimia (“Thin Fashion Models”). Models portrayed in magazines are thinner and thinner each year. “In 1965, the average model weighed 8% less than the average American woman; as of 2001, she weighs 25% less” (Frey). Genetics play a critical role in the cause of bulimia as well. Daughters are more likely to contract bulimia if their mother has the disorder (Orr 57). Family dynamics, such as parents focusing too much on their personal diets, may lead to younger people around them developing bulimia. Also, children who grow up in homes with high expectations and strict guidelines are more likely to contract bulimia. Pinpointing a single cause of bulimia is almost impossible because of the multitude of causes.

Bulimia produces many negative effects, with the most significant being the impact on the victim’s physical health. Purging, also known as self-induced vomiting, is one factor of bulimia that can cause the most damage physically. “Gastric acid from self-induced vomiting causes tooth decay and deterioration of tooth enamel” (Gay 47). Along with tooth damage, a bulimic’s stomach may rupture due to the extreme conditions undergone with constant vomiting (Kolodny 73). Other conditions include stomach ulcers and broken blood vessels, which can potentially lead to death (Orr 77). Alkalosis, an extreme effect of bulimia, results in low levels of calcium in a victim’s system (Kolodny 73). Calcium is an essential nutrient to stay healthy, and, without it, many bulimics experience fatigue and heart...

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