Anorexia and Bulimia

Eating disorders are an unfortunate common occurrence today. There are many different forms of eating disorders, however there are two very prominent forms: Anorexia and Bulimia. Both are very treatable, but both can be very damaging if left alone. Read on for further information on these disorders.

What is anorexia?

Anorexia is an eating disorder that causes its sufferers to think that they are fat, so they stop eating. This can result in starvation, and in some severe cases, anorexics may need to be hospitalized.

How does anorexia affect you?

Psychologically, anorexia can cause slower thinking, depression, poor judgment, and memory loss due to malnourishment. Physically, anorexia can cause dry mouth, thin hair, loss of muscle and fat, sensitivity to cold environments, low blood pressure, loss of menstrual cycle, and blotchy yellow skin, to name a few. Weight gain will occur if the person decides to eat a lot of unhealthy foods. Some behaviors that may be seen in a person with anorexia include cutting food into tiny pieces, restricting amounts of food eaten, exercising compulsively, and using laxatives.

Effects on the teenage population

Anorexia affects teenagers as much as it does because teens are still growing up and learning about the world, other people, and themselves. Often, teenagers take into account of what other people think of them and what is socially acceptable or preferable. One of the most preferable things to a teenager is a fit body. Teens will see so many celebrities on TV with nice figures, and they will want to have that as well. They will also hear about it in music and read magazines that are filled with images of the best bodies around.

Teens can also be pressured by their peers and even parents to lose weight, often when they are not even close to being overweight. Some scientists say that eating disorders may even be genetic. It seems that a lot of the eating disorders found in teens are not genetic at all, but induced by peers and parents. There are often teenage girls who claim that their parents call them fat and that they must stop eating as much. Other parents may push their children to exercise excessively.

Treatment for anorexia

Anorexia is very treatable. The hard part is getting the person to realize that and to admit to herself that she has an eating disorder. Once that occurs, medication, therapy, and supportive care may be given to help the sufferer. As mentioned before, anorexia may lead to hospitalization. Unfortunately, even this can sometimes fail to make the sufferer realize that she needs help. This is when support and therapy are of the utmost importance.

What is bulimia and how does it affect you?

Bulimia is an eating disorder in which the sufferer uses methods such as vomiting and laxatives to empty their body of food so that they can ‘lose weight.’ Bulimics often have a distorted view of themselves – they believe they are overweight.

Bulimia has many of the effects of anorexia, and often, people with bulimia have anorexia as well. They will weigh themselves frequently, induce vomiting, abuse laxatives, and practice binge eating – eating more food than they need to satisfy hunger. Oftentimes, this is followed by self-induced vomiting. Dental cavities can increase due to the presence of acid from frequent vomiting. This acid can dissolve the enamel surface and once this occurs, bacteria begin to eat away at the teeth. Blotches on the teeth can sometimes be seen as well.

How bulimia affects teens

Most teens who have bulimia have a severely distorted view of their bodies and what others think of them. Perfectly happy, smart teens can have bulimia and it can be because of what other people tell them. Peers and parents can leave damaging impressions in a teenager’s mind, causing her to believe that she is overweight and must find ways of losing that weight.

Treatment for bulimia

As with anorexia, bulimia can be treated with therapy, medication and support groups. Very often, a patient believes that she has been cured but relapses soon after. This is why family support is very important. It is so difficult to try to overcome the mental aspects without support.

If you know anyone who has any kind of eating disorder, talk to her and do all you can to aid her in finding help. Sometimes it can be as simple as talking to the sufferer and she will realize that she needs medical help and support.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

Reference:

“Bulimia / Anorexia.” Eating Disorders | Anorexia | Bulimia | Binge Eating Disorder | Compulsive Overeating | The Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders. Web. 05 Apr. 2011. .