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Eating Disorders

By Ashmina Shilpakar

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An eating disorder is characterized by serious disturbances of eating. People with an eating disorder have an abnormal eating pattern. They may eat excessive food or very little food which harms their physical and mental health. It disrupts normal body functions as well as daily activities. Eating disorders are becoming more common these days. People with an eating disorder may have an extreme fear of gaining weight. There could be a number of reasons behind this fear. One of the reasons is to achieve the "ideal" figure as shown in the media. Eating disorder usually occurs during adolescence or young adulthood. It has become so common in teenagers that 2 out of every 100 teenagers struggle with an eating disorder (Kidshealth). Others who are at risk to develop it include athletes, actors, models, etc for whom maintaining their figure is a professional requirement.

Among other types of eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa is the most common eating disorder.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is a very serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Like all other eating disorders, anorexia nervosa occurs usually during adolescence and early adulthood. It can also develop at any time throughout the lifespan. People with Anorexia Nervosa have the extreme fear of gaining weight and have the distorted view of their body shape and size. They want to maintain very low body weight; therefore, they restrict their food intake. They might put restrictions in their eating habit and maintain their body by dieting, fasting, or through excessive exercise. Anorexics often fight and ignore the hunger signals and control their desire to eat.

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People with anorexia starve themselves to feel more in control of their own life which eases their tension, anger, and anxiety. Some of the factors that might contribute to development of eating disorder are:

Anorexics are usually very thin and underweight. The symptoms that an anorexic shows are:

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Since the body doesn't get sufficient nutrition, anorexics face several health complications. Some of the effects of insufficient nutrition are:

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Starvation, losing weight, and medical complications can become relatively serious and can cause death. This disorder is very serious but there is treatment available. People can recover from anorexia. To overcome this disorder, a variety of approaches are used. To help with the emotional issues, an anorexic might have to go through psychotherapy. A physician can prescribe medications like antidepressants, and monitor their physical health. Also, a nutritionist works with the anorexic and advises them about proper diet.

There are treatments available for the people suffering with the disorder. We need to educate people about the resources that are available to get over this serious disorder. Also, we need to educate young teenagers about eating disorders and its consequences so that we could prevent it. As they learn more about the disorder and how bad it is for them, they learn to become more careful about their health and we could prevent other young people from suffering this dangerous and serious disorder.

RESOURCES:
"Eating Disorders." National Institute of Mental Health. NIMH, 24 Aug 2010. Web. 13 Jul 2011.
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/complete-index.shtml


"Mental Illnesses." National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI, n.d. Web. 12 Jul 2011. http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=102975
New, Michelle. "Eating Disorder." KidsHealth. Nemours, Dec 2008. Web. 13 Jul 2011. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/eating_disorders.html#


"The Basic Problem in Anorexia." Madhu Sameer. Web. 13 Jul 2011. http://madhusameer.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/anorexia/


"Effects of Anorexia Nervosa." Women's Health zone. Web. 13 Jul 2011. http://www.womenshealthzone.net/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa/effects/

 


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