When one hears the term eating disorder, most Americans’ minds automatically think about anorexia and bulimia. Both of these mental illnesses are devastating to the victims’ bodies, mental health, and self-image, as well as the victims’ loved ones. These people experience drastic changes in weight and appearance. Although they are similar, these illnesses differ in the victims’ motivation, their symptoms, and the ramifications of their behavior on their health.
What motivates people to become victims of these eating disorders varies. Males and females, more commonly females, who have anorexia feel they should stop eating not only to be skinny but also because they want to “disappear.” Anorexia nervosa can stem from the inability to form attachments to others. The victims’ thoughts, feelings, and personalities are lost; their individuality as persons no longer exists. These things will not return until their recovery. Unlike anorexia, bulimia is compulsive binge eating followed by purging through self-induced vomiting or laxatives. It is typically brought on by seeing thin, famous people in magazines and then wanting to be thin also. Bulimics are driven to look “right.” When the victims “binge eat,” they eat mass amounts of food for up to two hours. Then they purge to give themselves a “good feeling.” Both disorders are dangerous to the mind and body.
There can be dire consequences for both bulimia and anorexia. Some of the physical effects of anorexia include permanent heart problems, kidney failure, fatigue, and in some cases death. The vital organs do not receive the nourishment they need to function properly. Anorexics lose weight much more drastically than bulimics, and they refuse to maintain a normal body weight. On the other hand, the physical effects of bulimia are deterioration of the esophagus, dental cavities, and vitamin deficiency. The esophagus is damaged by acids due to the purging a bulimic does to get rid of the food he or she just consumed. Vomiting up to five times a day can also cause the teeth to rot because of the digestive acids. However, unlike anorexics, bulimics can maintain a relatively normal weight. Both eating disorders, however, must be treated before it is too late.
Each eating disorder requires different methods for finding help and for recovering. If an individual who has anorexia is diagnosed early, it can reduce the need for medical attention. This treatment involves seeing a health professional and getting counseling on a regular basis. In most cases, men and women admit themselves to an in-house treatment. This approach is so the doctors can keep a close eye on the patient and make sure she is eating a healthy diet. However, the victim can overcome anorexia only with the help of a mental-health physician, a medical-health professional, or a registered dietician. On the contrary, bulimics have an easier time taking charge of their eating disorder. Behavior therapy is better than hospitalization. It helps bulimics achieve specific goals such as changing their eating patterns. Cognitive therapy is another helpful treatment for bulimia. Cognitive therapists work to help patients replace their old habits with new ways of controlling their eating habits.
In conclusion, anorexia nervosa and bulimia are both self-destructive eating habits, but they must be identified and treated in different ways. Each disease varies in its physical and mental consequences. Eating disorders are battles that are fought all around America. Treating them is a difficult task, but not an impossible one.
Anorexia and Bulimia
Anorexia and Bulimia are serious, functional eating disorders. There are many similarities with the two diseases, but the few differences differentiate the two. Mostly occurring in women, these disorders cause a person to look in the mirror and see themselves as 73.6-80.6 percent larger than they really are. These are terrible diseases that are almost purely mental and they need immediate treatment.
Anorexia is an eating disorder in which a person has an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming obese. This person will eat very little, like an apple, or nothing at all for the whole day. 1 percent of all American women are anorexic, and the ratio of anorexic men to anorexic women is 9 to 1. This disease occurs in more women than men because women feel the pressure from our society to be thin. This disease can cause a lot of damage to the body such as slowed heart rate, lowered body temperature and blood pressure, premature bone loss, loss of menstruation or irregular periods, changed in body hair, grayish or yellowish skin, and mood changes. The body gets run down by having no
fuel to run on and goes through many changes. Anorexia is often linked with a similar disease called bulimia.
Bulimia is a disorder where a person binged after constant exercising and purges afterwards(self-induced vomiting or use of laxatives or diuretics). This person usually suffers from damaged and discolored teeth, lung irritation, muscle spasms, salivary-gland enlargement, puffy eyelids, and sores on the back of the hand used for purging from where the teeth scrape against the skin. Up to 5 percent of all American women are bulimic, and about half of those suffering from anorexia have been or are bulimic.
Cures for these diseases are mostly just getting help from counselors or therapists. Being mostly mental, admitting to others that you have a problem is the first step. Recent studies have shown that some people with eating disorders have reduced levels of certain brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters, that seem to play a key role in influencing mood. Although nothing has been 100 percent proven, doctors have found that there is success in treating anorexics and bulimics with antidepressant and antianxiety drugs.
Many stories about anorexia and bulimia can be found in books and magazines, and the tales that people tell of living with these disorders are horrifying. Many people go on 500 calories per day while putting in hours of exercise and school work. These many people see themselves as very fat and over weight when in reality people are envious of their bodies. Sometimes they don't realize how bad things are getting and even if they do they won't seek help. Even after being cured of anorexia or bulimia, sometimes obesity comes in to play, and the person has to suffer from yet another eating disorder.
Anorexia and Bulimia are very serious eating disorders that, contrary to popular belief, are actually diseases. If you are or suspect that someone you know is either anorexic or bulimic, tell someone and get help! These disorders can cause major problems in the body and should not be taken lightly. No matter what the question is, anorexia and bulimia are never the answer.