AE 10, per 4
19 December 2013
Eating Disorders, the Silent Killer
Eating disorders are one of society’s most debilitating physical and psychological problems faced today. In the 1950s Marilyn Monroe was society’s role model, but would now be considered a plus-sized model and somewhat unattractive in society’s eyes (Steinem 5). Now in 2013, Demi Lovato, a pop singer, plays a huge role as a role model for young people, but has recently told the media that she suffers from anorexia nervosa and embraces it, ultimately showing adolescents that eating disorders are socially acceptable and even often encouraged (Cotliar 80). The psychological effects that eating disorders have on a patient can be very detrimental to themselves and often push the patient farther into the disorder than she could ever have imagined ("Prevalence vs. Funding" 3). The physical effects that an eating disorder can have on the body could be as minor as feeling faint to something as major as an organ shut down, or even resulting in death (“Physical Dangers” 2). Eating disorders affect a wide variety of people, particularly adolescent girls, and may ultimately lead to many destructive physical and psychological results. Eating disorders have been a part of the world’s culture ever since people began recording history. These disorders were first recorded in Egypt, where the Egyptians would partake in a monthly purge that would last anywhere from an hour to as long as two weeks. The Egyptians thought the purge showed their gods how faithful they were to them, and would often purge weekly if they had thought they had done something to displease the gods (Epstein 33). Though there are many individual specialized eating disorder conditions, three main disorders affect the majority of society today. These three disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder by which girls starve themselves, often ultimately leading up to an extreme weight loss ("Prevalence vs. Funding" 1). In Cowell’s research, he states that “Anorexic people often show extreme self-control by forcing their body to believe that they are not hungry and do not need food to survive” (Cowell, Gibson, and Sewell 2). Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder where a person will binge consistently and then purge or compensate for those binges by getting rid of the food in various ways such as self-induced vomiting or taking laxatives ("What are Eating Disorders" 4). A person becomes bulimic because they can not starve themselves, so they trick their body into thinking they are full by putting food into their stomach, and then getting rid of the food in various ways (Cowell, Gibson, and Sewell 3). Finally, binge eating disorder is a disorder where a person will binge eat without getting rid of the food in any way ("Prevalence vs. Funding" 3). Many people affected by binge eating often use food as a substitute for other aspects missing in their lives (Staff, Mayo Clinic 4). All three disorders are very serious and lead to many unhealthy effects on a person’s body. These effects that eating disorders can have on the body affect everyone in different ways, especially adolescent girls. Rachel Epstein, the author of Eating Habits and Disorders, says, “Studies have shown that the typical anorexic or bulimic is female and fairly young, mostly between thirteen and fifteen years of age” (73). Girls often care more about what society thinks of their physical appearance, whereas boys do not care as much and instead make up for it with their personalities. Girls typically also have a lower self-esteem, thinking that they are not good enough for society’s standards ("Prevalence vs. Funding" 3). As adolescents, girls experience great changes in hormonal levels, physical appearance, and emotional states. They also have more mental imbalances, such as hormones or self-confidence, than teen-aged boys, making them an easy target...
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