Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

Eat­ing dis­or­ders refer to any form of obses­sion with food and weight. Anorexia and bulimia are com­mon eat­ing disorders.

“If I like myself at this weight, then this is what I’m going to be. I don’t have an eat­ing dis­or­der.” ~ Courteney Cox

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Suzanne Abra­ham says that eat­ing dis­or­ders refer to any form of obses­sion with food and weight, which is detri­men­tal to the phys­i­cal and men­tal health of an indi­vid­ual. Eat­ing dis­or­ders are com­mon in devel­oped coun­tries, and mil­lions of peo­ple develop prob­lems asso­ci­ated with it every year. The most com­mon types are anorexia and bulimia, although there are other food-related disorders.

Sil­ver­stein et al. say that indi­vid­u­als suf­fer­ing from anorexia have a gen­uine fear of weight gain as well as a vague per­cep­tion of their body size and shape; there­fore, they are unable to main­tain a nor­mal body and weight. Anorexia is char­ac­ter­ized by extreme thin­ness (ema­ci­a­tion), refusal to eat, tak­ing diet pills, lax­a­tives or water pills to reduce weight, exces­sive phys­i­cal activ­ity, dis­torted body image, and absence of men­stru­a­tion among girls and women. Although the con­di­tion is mostly preva­lent among ado­les­cent girls, it may also take place in ado­les­cent boys, and in grown-up women and men.
Bulimia resem­bles anorexia. How­ever, with bulimia, the indi­vid­ual may binge (eat in exces­sive amounts). Such indi­vid­u­als may try to com­pen­sate by purg­ing through var­i­ous ways such as forced vom­it­ing or too much phys­i­cal activ­ity, in order to avoid adding more weight. Bulimia is char­ac­ter­ized by unnat­ural fear con­cern­ing body weight, obses­sion with calo­ries, and use of var­i­ous reme­dies to pre­vent pos­si­ble addi­tion of weight. In extreme cases, it may be char­ac­ter­ized by throw­ing up of meals, and/or faint­ing.
Ref­er­ences:
Abra­ham, S. (2008). Eat­ing Dis­or­ders. Oxford: Oxford Uni­ver­sity Press.
Sil­ver­stein, A., Sil­ver­stein, V. & Sil­ver­stein, V. (2009). The Eat­ing Dis­or­ders Update : Under­stand­ing Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eat­ing. Berke­ley Heights, NJ : Enslow Publishers.


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