April R. Gaines
Alcorn State University
An eating disorder is when a person experiences severe changes in eating behavior, such as a very low dose of food intake or a high dose of overeating, or worry about body weight or shape. A person with an eating disorder begins eating smaller or larger amounts of food than usual and then the situation gets out of control. Eating disorders are very complicated; the biological, behavioral and social foundations of these illnesses remain incomprehensive.
Most eating disorders appear during adolescence or young adulthood, but some an develop during childhood or later in adulthood. Women and girls are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. Men and boys account for an estimated 5 to 15 percent of patients with anorexia or bulimia and an estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder(Anderson, 2001). Eating disorders are treatable medical illnesses with complex underlying psychological and biological causes. They can arrive from psychiatric disorders such as anxiety disorders depression, drug or substance abuse. Eating disorders can cause a person to suffer from numerous heart conditions or kidney failure.
Eating disorders can be treated psychological and medicinal treatments. Treatment plans often are tailored to the patient's individual needs that may include medical care and monitoring. Treatment can be in the form of medications; nutritional counseling; and individual, group and/or family psychotherapy. Sometimes victim need to be hospitalized to treat malnutrition or to gain weight, or for other reasons. Anorexia usually takes its toll on girls who are the "perfect ones." Everything in their lives seems to be in order, on schedule, and, literally, perfect. Their desperate need for something to uphold and be proud of and claim as their own is manifest in their ability to control their food intake. Controlling every calorie consumed becomes a matter of sheer pride and gives them a sense of self-worth and accomplishment when they have achieved the "perfect" body (AABA, 2000). This habit turns dangerous, and often deadly, when the image of the "perfect" body becomes so distorted that they drop to fifteen percent below the normal body weight and still feel overweight. Their goal suddenly gets farther and farther away, and they increase to the point of starvation their efforts to reach it (Mental Health Net, 2000).
An eating disorder has complicated origins. The obsession with weight and appearance may leads to this deadly disease, but this is just the tips of the problem. Most people with eating disorder feel a need for control, genetic factors, parental influence, behavioral influence, environmental influence, and biochemistry plays a part in the cause of the problem. The effects of biochemistry focus on brain neurotransmitters such as parental pressure which can foster eating disorders, though it is not necessarily a factor in every case. Eating disorders are a dangerous disturbance in the pattern of eating. It usually has an underlying psychological basis, but is sometimes caused by a malfunction of the appetite in the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. Many sociologists and psychiatrists blame the disorders on the Western culture with praises slim women and shun women who are plump. The obsession with physical appearance has resulted in psychological disorders, but of different types. Some have developed dramatic personalities, overreact, and manipulate those in their environment. Others are more obsess ional, pondering constantly about food, and develop rituals connected with it. Eating disorder can causes mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and alcohol or drug addiction. Some of these disorders influence the development of an eating disorder, and some are consequences of it. Eating disorders may also causes malnutrition; muscle atrophy; dry skin, hair, and nails;...
References: AABA-American Anorexia Bulimia Association, Inc. September 10, 2000 http://www.aabainc.org/familyfriends/index2.html.
Andersen AE. Eating disorders in males.In: Brownell KD, Fairburn CG, eds. Eating disorders and obesity: a comprehensive handbook. New York: Guilford Press, 1995; 177-187.
Mental Health America. (2011). Eating Disorders: Mental Health America ......
Mental Help Net & CMHC Systems."All About Eating Disorders." 1994. September 9, 2000 http://eatingdisorders.mentalhelp.net/.
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