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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Eating disorders: A rising concern

Our society greatly value thinness, even though Americans are heavier than ever before. Today we are also seeing a higher rate of eating disorders with our adolescents and young women—and men.

What are the major types of eating disorders?
1. Anorexia nervosa- people with this disorder have distorted body image believing they are obesity overweight, even when they are dangerously thin. Many times they refuse to eat, exercise compulsively and utilize unusual habits about their eating.
2. Bulimia nervosa-people eat excessive quantities of food and then purge their bodies of the food and calories they fear by using laxatives, enemas, diuretics, vomiting or exercising. Acting in secrecy, they have high emotional shame.
3. Binge eater or compulsive over-eaters experience frequent episodes of out-of-control eating. These groups don't purge their bodies.

Who suffers from eating disorders?
According to the national Institute of Mental Health, 90% of the cases are related to adolescent and young women. But eating disorders are not limited just to young girls—men and boys also develop eating disorders and we are also seeing an increase in ethnic minorities falling prey to this illness. People with eating disorders tend to begin to withdraw from social contact, and hid and deny their problems.

What causes Eating disorders?
Dysfunctional families and relationships are one factor, and many with these disorders suffer from low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness and intense unhappiness about how they look. Anorexics tend to be perfectionists and bulimics tend to be impulsive. Family situations can perceptual the problems in homes where people tease someone about weight, eating, or their body image. Traumas such as rape, abuse, and death of a loved one can also trigger the disorder.

Why seek treatment?
ED doesn't go away on its own, there can be serious consequences. 1 in 10 anorexics die from starvation, suicide, or medical complications. ED devastates the body including anemia, heart palpitations, hair and bone loss, tooth decay, and cessation of menstruation. Also related is high blood pressure, diabetes and depression. As you can see this is a serious concern… if you or anyone you love suffers with ED it is imperative they seek an evaluation from a licensed mental health professional counselor or their family doctor.

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