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|alright. i haven't been here in forever. but i need to use it now. i have a paper i need to have access to at school and home and school doesn't allow email. so i'm posting my paper on here.
Anorexia, Bulimia, and Bigorexia
This paper will be discussing a number of eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, and bigorexia. It will explore factors that play key roles in one developing an eating disorder. Also, the symptoms of each disorder will be described, along with the dangerous methods used. Also, attached to this paper are statistics and facts associated with eating disorders.
Doesn’t it seem like everyone is dieting these days? The media is constantly pushing the ‘latest’ diet pill, or the ‘new and improved’ exercise program. With the large increase in obesity rates among Americans, it’s no wonder diet programs have become a new fad. But, for some people, dieting is taken to the extreme. The individual thinks that they are fat and will do anything to be thin. They may refuse to eat, and then purge, and even abuse diet pills and laxatives. This paper will compare and contrast different eating disorders, symptoms of these disorders, and causes and influences affecting individuals.
Eating disorders affect people from all parts of the world. Both men and women have eating disorders, although there are a higher percentage of women having them. “Women are given the message at a very young age that in order to be happy and successful, they must be thin.” (Thompson ,1996) But society’s ideal body image is not achievable. People do not realize that the media uses computers to reshape the bodies of actresses and models to make them look thinner than they actually are. Clothing retailers construct their mannequins to have measurements much different than the average woman. These tactics are used to draw in consumers and make them think that their product will make them look thin and feel good about themselves. See Table 1A to see how an average woman compares to a store mannequin.
Teenagers make up the largest percentage of people with eating disorders. Young girls are striving to fit in with ‘cliques’ and yearn to be ‘popular’. As they enter into puberty and discover that boys no longer have cooties, they long for attention from those of the opposite sex. When rejected, or just not noticed, the teenage adolescent may feel that they are not pretty enough, or not thin enough. This may cause them to develop an eating disorder as they go to extreme measures to become thin.
Not only are adults and teenagers affected by eating disorders; children also suffer from various food disorders. If parents and older siblings are dieting and expressing dislike towards their own bodies, the child will receive the message that appearance is very important. “Barbie herself sets a very bad example towards children.” (Thompson, 1996) Young girls wrapped up in their Barbie doll worlds, are told that to be beautiful, one must be thin. It is estimated that 40% of nine year olds have already dieted and that four and five year olds are expressing the need to diet.
Two of the most common eating disorders are Anorexia and Bulimia. They have many of the same symptoms, although they are different disorders. Some common symptoms they share are fatigue, muscle weakness, depression, irritability, and mood swings. People with either of these disorders also may exercise excessively, make excuses for not eating meals, appear uncomfortable when around food, abuse laxatives, diet pills, and/or diuretics, vomit, and feel that self worth requires being thin. These disorders also share some of the same physical and medical complications. Irregular or loss of menstruation (amenorrhea), dizziness, dehydration, constipation, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats, hair loss, stomach pains, kidney and liver damage, electrolyte imbalances, anemias, cardiac arrest, and death are just some of the complications eating disorders may cause.
People with eating disorders share some of the same food behaviors. They may skip meals, take tiny portions, eat “safe foods”, become a vegetarian, boast about eating healthy meals, drink diet sodas, and read labels religiously. Sometimes, a person may mix strange food combinations, or chew mouthfuls, but spit it out before swallowing.
The different eating disorders also share common trends in appearance and body image behaviors. People with these disorders may wear baggy clothes to hide weight loss. Or they may wear layers to hide fat or to stay warm. When shopping or trying on clothes, the person will obsess about clothing size and spend a lot of time in front of the mirror.
“Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by a significant weight loss resulting from excessive dieting.” (Thompson, 1996) A person with anorexia is motivated by the strong desire to be thing and a fear of becoming fat. They will set very high standards for themselves and strive for perfection. They will also put the needs of others ahead of their own. While these are good things, the person usually has very low self-esteem. They are never satisfied with their weight. Sometimes, focusing on calories and losing weight is their way of blocking out feelings and emotions. If they can’t control what is happening around them, they can control their weight.
A person with anorexia may have noticeable weight loss, become withdrawn, always be cold, have an obsession with food, calories, and recipes, complain of being too fat even when thin, cook for others, but not eat themselves, frequently check weight on the scale, faint or have dizzy spells, and have a pale complexion. They may also have unusual eating habits, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, or picking at food. Eating in public is very difficult as they can be secretive about their eating patterns. Medical problems that may arise in those with anorexia are skin problems, cold hands and feet, bloating, decreased metabolism, loss of bone mass, osteoporosis, insomnia, infertility, low potassium, and those mentioned earlier on page __.
Those with anorexia usually resist any attempts to help them because the idea of therapy is seen only as a way to force them to eat. Once they admit that they have a problem and are willing to seek help, they can be treated effectively.
“Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by a cycle of binge eating followed by purging to try and rid the body of unwanted calories.” (Thompson, 1996) For one person, a binge may range from 1,000 to 10,000 calories. For another person, one cookie may be considered a binge. Those with bulimia do not feel secure about their own self worth. They base their own self worth on being thin and controlling intake of food. When eating, the feel out of control. The person will diet, become hungry, and then binge eat in response to powerful cravings and feelings of deprivation. Food then becomes the only source of comfort.
Some signs and symptoms of bulimia are binge eating, bathroom visits after eating, weight fluctuations (usually with 10-15 lb range), swollen glands, broken blood vessels, severe self-criticism, fear of not being able to stop eating, tooth decay, sore throat, and those mentioned earlier on page __. Medical complications may include lack of energy, headaches, tears of esophagus, erosion of teeth enamel, chronic sore throat, parotid gland enlargement, edema (swelling of hands and feet), chest pains, development of peptic ulcers and pancreatitus, abrasions on back of hands and knuckles, and those mentioned earlier on page __.
Those with bulimia are more likely to realize they have a problem and seek help than those with anorexia, though; they may partake in irresponsible behaviors such as shoplifting, promiscuity, and abuse of alcohol, drugs, and credit cards.
Those with eating disorders use dangerous methods to achieve a thinner appearance. Ipecac syrup, laxatives, diuretics, and diet pills are just some of the drugs taken. Ipecac syrup induces vomiting and should only be used in cases of accidental poisoning. Repeated use can cause the heart muscle to weaken. Long term effects include irregular heartbeats, chest pains, breathing problems, rapid heart rate, and cardiac arrest. Laxatives, such as Ex-Lax and Correctal, have little or no effect on reducing weight because by the time they work, the calories have already been absorbed. The person may feel like they have lost weight because of the amount of fluid that is lost. The body will start to retain water within a 48-72 hour period. Leaving the person feeling bloated and fearing they are gaining weight. Prolonged use of laxatives can lead to permanent damage to bowels, other severe medical complications, and death. Diuretics (water pills) are much like laxatives. They give the person a feeling of weight loss, but only vital fluid and electrolytes are lost. Use of diuretics is dangerous because the body’s electrolytes need to be in balance in order for you organs, such as the heart, kidney, and liver to function properly. Diet pills may seem to be safe ways to lose weight, but they are addictive and can produce symptoms such as increased heart rate, dizziness, high blood pressure, nausea, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, dry mouth, and diarrhea.
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July 11th, 2007
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