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An Overview of Eating Disorders

Aug 17, 2007
In a society that is increasingly placing standards of beauty upon the youths of our population, people are at more of a risk than ever of developing an eating disorder. Celebrities in television and the media display stick-thin figures which can create a high standard of beauty. This 'model of beauty' can lead to many problems with an individual's self esteem. On the other side of the spectrum, we are dealing with an obesity epidemic that is claiming more and more people in the developed world.

It is important to have a full understanding of the eating disorders which are prevalent in society today in order to be able to catch the warning signs when an individual you know is afflicted. Eating disorders are a mental condition, and while many discount the problem as situational and fixable if an individual desires to be healed, they can be very difficult to overcome. In this article, we'll be giving a basic overview of some of the more common eating disorders that our culture faces today.

One of the most commonly occurring eating disorders within our society today is anorexia nervosa. Many are familiar with the affliction, in which one suffers from such an intense occupation with their self image that they literally starve their bodies in hopes of attaining a slimmer figure. While dieting and exercise are efficient ways of losing weight, those with anorexia resort to drastic methods for trying to attain a body figure with which they will never be satisfied. Anorexia is marked by a preoccupation with weight loss and a poor self image. In advanced cases of anorexia, women may lose the ability to have a period. In severe cases, the woman can die of starvation.

Bulimia is another eating disorder that permeates our culture today. As opposed to anorexics, which use dieting techniques and weight-loss pills to a high degree, bulimics find solace in 'purging'. Bulimic individuals usually eat a large amount of food, then retreat to a bathroom in order to regurgitate, or 'purge' the food from their system, causing them to lose the nutritional value and calories that the food they consume.

Bulimics may also use laxatives, causing bouts of diarrhea and eliminating the nutritional value that bulimics should be receiving from the food they eat. You may be able to see warning signs for bulimia if an individual binges upon foods that are high in fat and sweets, engorging as much food as possible, then retires to the bathroom in order to purge the foods. Poor self image is also a leading reason why people may become bulimic, and it's an important thing to note when considering the health of a friend or family member.

These are just a few of the eating disorders that can cause excessive trauma to the body and mind of an individual. If you know someone who you suspect has an eating disorder, you may want to discuss the problem with them with love and compassion, being sure to let them know that you are there for them. In severe cases, you should speak with a doctor in order to determine the best course of action for helping an individual.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Eating Disorders.
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