Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Eating Disorders: Physical and Psychological Damages Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and disordered eating. Thats all we see in the bathroom stalls on the seventh floor in Hayes Healy. What exactly are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and disordered eating? Anorexia, bulimia, and disordered eating are habits that become an eating disorder. There are two sides to understanding the problems of eating disorders. One side is the emotional or psychological side that is affected by eating disorders. The other is the physical side.

Eating disorders are harmful and can cause physical and psychological damage to ones body. According to Craig Johnson, Ph.D., and director of the eating disorders program at Laureate Hospital in Tulsa, Oak. Eating disorders exist because we live in a weight obsessed culture. To understand the two sides of eating disorders, we must understand what an eating disorder is. Anorexia nervosa is and extreme food restriction and excessive weight loss.

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Bulimia nervosa is a cycle of binge eating followed by purging. Vomiting, laxatives or excessive exercise habits cause purging. The cycle starts again by binge eating. Another type of eating disorder is disordered eating. Disordered eating is a psychological disorder towards food, weight and body image that leads to very rigid eating and exercising habits.

According to Marcia Herrin a co-director of Dartmouth College Education, Prevention and Treatment Program, five million to ten million females and one million males ranging from the ages fourteen to twenty-five have or has had some form of an eating disorder. A majority of girls are overly conscious of maintaining their figures and weights. People with eating disorders resort to restricting their calorie intake and limiting the food they eat. The less one wants to eat the more their body will crave foods, especially foods that are high in sugar because the sugar boosts the energy level. By limiting your body to the nutrition it needs to stay healthy, your body can go into a deprivation mode that can trigger serious physical damages.

Any eating disorder can physically damage your body by adversely affecting your heart, reproductive system, nervous system, kidneys, and metabolism. Eating disorders can cause dizziness, fatigue, blood disorders, dry skin, and limp hair. An eating disorder can even increase the risks for an early onset of osteoporosis. Bulimia and vomiting can lead to painful stomachaches and or cramps, swelling at the neck glands which can lead to popped blood vessels in the face, constipation, diarrhea, and reflex vomiting. All these symptoms are small compared to death. There have been small cases that report deaths of people who have made themselves vomit, ruptured their esophagus and died.

One death that jolted the nation to become more aware of eating disorders was the death of singer Karen Carpenter in 1983. The other side to understanding eating disorders is the psychological damages done by eating disorders. To certain victims of eating disorders, food becomes somewhat like a drug. To some people they can find comfort to their problems by literally eating them away. In some cases food used as a comfort can lead to obesity or bulimia.

By limiting the body to foods, the mind will focus on not eating, which leads to irregular mood swings. Moods can range for becoming irritable to being unable to concentrate. Being unable to concentrate and becoming irritable can lead to even worst psychological damages like receiving low grades, becoming a school drop out, not caring about extracurricular activities and close loved ones. While there are certain victims of eating disorders who withdraw themselves from others, other victims of eating disorders bond together by creating a binge sorority. This activity of eating and taking turns purging in the bathroom is more of a competition to see who can exist on the fewest calories then it is a bonding ritual. Based on Susan Mackey, Ph.D.

clinical psychologist, and other experts say we can point fingers towards the media for encouraging your men and women to have a certain physical look. 490 of the largest colleges and universities (by student population) took a poll conducted by People found that 41% of the respondents who could estimate the prevalence of eating disorders on their campuses say that at least one in ten of their female students have had an eating disorder; 18% say the figure is at least one in five. 70% reported that eating disorders are widespread. 20% say it is pressure from peers and the media to stay thin. The media has a major impact on young adults to fit this certain thin waif look.

These days, young adults have to fit this certain image the media portrays to be accepted into the liked groups. Most young adults have a hard time fitting this image so they trigger the psychological side to the beginning of an eating disorder. The psychological side is the start to the physical side creating bad habits that will lead to an eating disorder. Engineering.

Eating Disorders

.. y risk their lives. There is no guarantee that after surgery the fat won’t come back (Guerra 112). There is no way of knowing how one’s body is going to heal after cosmetic surgery, and the surgery often ends in disappointment, depression, or even more cosmetic surgery to fix the scars and unexpected flaws that the first surgery has left. Swelling can also occur for up to six weeks. The possibility of bleeding, bruising, infection and scarring are also some of the risks of liposuction (Ashton 121).

Infections, wound disruptions, and erosion of overlying skin are a routine byproduct of any operation. Scar tissue can harden and darken. There is no way to prevent this kind of disfigurement and it is estimated that over twenty percent of all cosmetic surgery involves repairing scar tissue left over from previous operations (Davis 27). Apparatus that must be worn after surgery may cause women to stay at home for a long period of time. Apparatus are very uncomfortable. They are elastic wraps that are tightly bound around the legs, stomach, or wherever the surgery was performed, to keep the remaining tissue in place.

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They must be worn for ten days and up to three weeks. The combination of the apparatus and swelling may keep patients secluded from their friends, family, and the public for up to six months, which can be a source of depression. It may take up to a year for all of the remaining traces of surgery to disappear. The fastest and the most unhealthy kind of dieting is crash dieting. Crash dieting causes a woman to lose weight quickly for a short period of time but can quickly reverse itself.

Long term crash dieting will cause weight gain because during self-starvation. When a small amount of food is entered into the body it is consumed as fat instead of energy because the body is preparing for starvation. The body is saving all of the consumed energy as fat to be able to survive longer. When dieters burn calories they are burning muscle because their body refuses to burn the fat because the fat is more important. Fat will help a body survive (98).

These crash diets are unhealthy because they are restricting proper vitamin and mineral intake into a body and can cause vitamin deficiency. Under women’s self-imposed condition of starvation, they may suffer from many of the same vitamin and deficiency conditions common in impoverished countries with high rates of malnutrition (Nardo 98). Crash dieters go on strict diets, 300 – 600 calories a day, which is one-quarter less than average calorie consumption (98). The combination of losing weight to their body’s absolute minimum and nutritional imbalance can cause serious harm to a woman’s reproductive system. Crash dieting women may not be able to get pregnant because their reproductive system may shut itself down. Most anorexic women have this problem and if proper amounts of protein and calories are not taken into their body they could lose the chance to have a baby forever.

Anorexia causes a cessation of menstruation in women, which can be permanent depending on how severe the disorder is and how long it continuespreadolescent females fail to menstruate all together (Nikles 1). Women’s bodies stop ovulating so they won’t be able to become pregnant because their body has a hard time storing enough energy to keep themselves alive, let alone keep a baby alive. Strict vegetarian diets may also cause a woman’s body to stop ovulating because of the lack of protein (Perloe and Christie 91). If a woman with an eating disorder does become pregnant she may have trouble carrying her baby to term. The closer her weight is to normal and the healthier her diet the better chance of a successful pregnancy. Women with eating disorders have higher rates of miscarriages than healthy normal women.

A woman’s fertility is not only jeopardized, but her chances of supporting a fetus are seriously impaired due to a drop in hormone levels (Nikles 1). A premature baby can also be a sign of an eating disorder during pregnancy. Lower birth weight babies are at risk of many medical problems, and some are life threatening. Babies born to eating disordered mothers may be retarded or slow to develop. They can be smaller in size, weaker, and slower growing than other children of the same age.

Intellectually they lag behind their classmates. They are not quite as fully developed socially and have a hard time developing relationships with other people (ANRED 1). If a woman obsessed with being thin becomes pregnant she may be torn apart emotionally because of her weight gain. Women who are anorexic are usually very controlling and self-disciplined and when they find that they can’t control their weight gain may try and hurt themselves, or their baby. When a woman doesn’t have enough nourishment for herself and becomes pregnant, the baby’s needs come first and may starve the mother of important nutrients, such as protein and calcium. Protein is one of the most important nutrients for pregnant women because it develops the tissue of the fetus and increases the mother’s blood volume as well as the amniotic fluid (Eating for two 1).

Starvation of calcium in the mother will make her teeth and bones very fragile. Stress fractures and broken bones may appear later in years because of the lack of calcium. Once calcium is lost from a woman’s bones it is very difficult if not impossible to regain (ANRED 1). A woman with an eating disorder and pregnant is at high risk for serious health problems. Her liver can be affected, as well as her kidneys.

Cardiac damage may also occur during pregnancy (ANRED 1). When women were big and voluptuous they were recognized for their health and potential to raise a big family. Since women now are so obsessed with becoming thin, they give up everything including a chance to have a baby. A woman’s body knows when she is not healthy and doesn’t have enough body fat and reacts in certain ways to tell her to eat. She ignores her body’s signals because she is afraid of becoming fat. Women’s obsession with their weight causes major psychological problems such as anorexia and bulimia.

Some women get fat surgically removed and become depressed with the results. By crash dieting a woman’s body begins to eat it’s muscle. All of these health problems are caused by a woman’s conscious attempt to become slim. Most if not all of these problems could be avoided if women were not obsessed about their weight. There are many ways to help women with eating disorders.

It takes a lot of time to be cured, but it is well worth the wait. Counselors and psychiatrists are a good source for information, along with support groups. If women don’t get the help that they need fast enough, their life could be lost. Too many women have lost their lives already. Too many women are dying to be thin.

Bibliography Anorexia Nervosa and other Related Eating Disorders, Inc. (ANRED) http://www.anred.com (February 21, 1999). Arnold, Caroline. Too Fat? Too Thin? Do You Have A Choice? New York: William Morrow and Company, 1984. Ashton, Maria. The Pain of Plastic Surgery.

Marie Claire, August 1998: 118- 121 . Bell, Alison. Disordered Eating – Are You One of the Silent Majority? Teen, February 1999: 66-71. Brody, Liz. When Looks Could Kill. Jump, June 1998. Davis, Kathy.

Reshaping the Female Body – The Dilemma of Cosmetic Surgery. New York: Routledge, 1995. Eating for Two: Nutrition During Pregnancy. http://www.parenthoodweb.com/parent cfmfiles/pros.cfm/371 (February 19, 1999). Grinspoon, Lester, M.D., James B. Batalar, J.D. The Harvard Mental Health Letter. http://www.mentalhealth.com/mag1.1997.h97-eat1.htm l (February 15, 1999). Guerra, Gigi. The Exploding Plastic Inevitable.

Jane, August 1998: 108 – 113. Nardo, Don. Vitamins and Minerals. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1994. Nikles, Nina. The Risks in the Quest for Thinness. http://web87a.bbnplanet.com/belmont/entertainment/ health/029688 2 the 031197 8bc052904c.html (February 19, 1999).

Perloe, Mark M.D. and Linda Gail Christie. Miracle Babies and Other Happy Endings. New York, Rawson Associates, 1986. Psychology Essays.

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