Eating Disorder Essay

This essay has a total of 1245 words and 6 pages.

Eating Disorder

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fattest one of all?”
Fairy tales are not real, so is the image you see in the mirror. Thousands of people look
in the mirror and hate what they see. When you look in the mirror, you see what eating
disorder wants you to see, not the true picture.

Despite the fact that many people think of an eating disorder as being an unhealthy quest
for a perfect body, eating disorders are not about vanity and not really about weight. The
causes of eating disorders are not known with precision but are thought to be a
combination of genetic, neuro-chemical, psycho-developmental, and socio-cultural factors.
Eating disorders are complex, psychological illnesses where people try to control conflict
and stress in their lives by controlling food. The food, weight, and body image issues are
identifiable symptoms of deep-rooted, often difficult-to-identify
problems. Typically, people who develop an eating disorder are in emotional
turmoil. They want to be in control but feel they are not. Any anxiety, self-doubt, or
feelings of failure or inadequacy become tied to how they look. When being thin becomes an
obsession, when self-worth becomes associated with slimness, the stage is set for eating
disorders. People with eating disorders become preoccupied, even obsessed, with food and
weight. Eating disorders can lead to extreme behavior including self-starvation, bingeing,
purging, and compulsive exercise. Untreated eating disorder lead to heart damage,
depression, permanent health damage, or suicide. Eating disorders-- anorexia nervosa,
bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are psychiatric illnesses that affect over five
million American women and men. Eating disorders can affect anyone -- adults, young
adults, teenagers, boys, girls, men, women, athletes, and couch potatoes. There is no
single cause for eating disorders. Although eating disorders were once thought to be
strictly psychological illnesses, recent research indicates that some people may have a
genetic predisposition toward eating disorders. Studies also show that there is often a
connection between eating disorders and other illnesses such as clinical depression,
post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disease Eating disorders are
complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, emotional,
psychological, interpersonal, and social factors. Scientists and researchers are still
learning about the underlying causes of these emotionally and physically damaging
conditions. There are some general issues that contribute to the development of eating
disorders. While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight,
they are most often about much more than food. People with eating disorders often use food
and the control of food in an attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may
otherwise seem over-whelming. For some, dieting, bingeing, and purging may begin as a way
to cope with painful emotions and to feel in control of one's life, but ultimately, these
behaviors will damage a person's physical and emotional health, self-esteem, and sense of
competence and control. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by a
refusal to eat enough to maintain a healthy body weight. People with anorexia develop an
intense, irrational fear of becoming fat even though underweight. This fear escalates to
the point where intentional starvation is used as a means to achieve the desired thinness.
People with this illness truly believe they are fat, even though others can see that they
have become painfully thin, even emaciated. Anorexia nervosa has the most severe
consequence, with a mortality rate of 0.56 percent per year (or 5.6 percent per decade)
(Sullivan, 1995), a rate higher than that of almost all other mental disorders (Herzog et
al., 1996). Like all eating disorders, it tends to occur in pre or post puberty,
but can develop at any life change. Anorexia nervosa predominately affects adolescent
girls, although it can also occur in men and older women. One reason younger women are
particularly vulnerable to eating disorders is their tendency to go on strict diets to
achieve an "ideal" figure. This obsessive dieting behavior reflects a great deal of
today's societal pressure to be thin, which is seen in advertising and the media. Others
especially at risk for eating disorders include athletes, actors, and models for which
thinness has become a professional requirement. Knowledge about the causes of
anorexia is inconclusive, and the causes may be varied. In an attempt to understand and
uncover the origins of eating disorders, scientists have studied the personalities,
genetics, environments, and biochemistry of people with these illnesses. Certain
personality traits common in persons with anorexia are low self-esteem, social isolation,
and a perfectionist attitude. These people tend to be good students and excellent
Continues for 3 more pages >>