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Eating disorder is an issue affecting most American families and its study has led to some people to carrying out studies and researches on the subject. The cases of Eating disorders are so prevalent in America to the degree that one or two of every a hundred students will grapple with one. Thousands of teens get eating disorders or problems with eating, body image, or weight. Eating disorders are majorly identifiable by extremes in eating behavior. This article is going examine this issue of eating disorders. This will involve defining an eating disorder, understanding the characteristics, signs and symptoms, types of eating disorders, and their categorization. Eating disorders have four categories including Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge, and other food related disorders.

The paper will focus its discussion on the Anorexia eating disorder, which is the crucial one of the four. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder present in many teens, and it starts with them restricting their diet. The study will also determine the signs and symptoms of Anorexia and its treatment. The major symptoms of Anorexia are weakness, shortness of breath, anxiety, and not wanting to eat in public. We will look at these issues in detail. In the last section, the paper will analyze the medical consequences of Anorexia, how the patients can control and treat the disorder (Silverstein, 2008).

This paper aims at coming up with information on Eating disorder and Anorexia. This information will be from different researchers done by scholars and recorded in secondary sources such as books, and journals. in research data can be from primary or secondary sources. Primary sources of information include first hand information obtained using interviews, questionnaires, and observation. Secondary information is from books, electronic database, and magazines among other records. In this paper, most or the information was from books, periodicals, and the internet (Collins, 2004).

Discussion

Eating disorder is when a person eats, or declines to eat, in order to provide an inner need and not an absolute requirement. The individual does not pay attention to bodily signals or perhaps is not even aware of them. In traditional settings when a person is hungry, he eats and stops eating when he has had enough. Eating disorders are more of behavioral predicaments brought on by a composite interplay of factors, which may contain personality and emotional disorders, family demands, a probable genetic susceptibility, and many more other reasons. The most prominent reason for eating disorders in America is the philosophy of overabundance of food and an obsession with losing weight.

There are four broad categories of eating disorders specifically Bulimia nervosa, Anorexia nervosa, Binge eating and eating disorders not otherwise specified. Many elements add to the risk of developing an eating disorder. In America only approximately, seven million and one million males suffer from eating disorders. Age, gender, ethnic factors, socioeconomic factors, and personality disorders are some of the risk factors contributing to the development of eating disorders. According to several studies, adolescents and young adults experience eating disorders more than older people. Recent studies suggest that eating disorders is becoming increasingly widespread among young children. In gender, studies show that eating disorders are high among females that are girls and women. Studies show that about 90% of patients with anorexia and 80% of patients with bulimia are female (Balkin, 2005).

Ethnic factors are a contributing risk factor with studies indicating that the most affected are Caucasian middle class females. Other races also suffer from eating disorders. Social economic factors are also responsible for eating disorders in America. Staying in any economically developed countries on any continent seems to pose a risk for eating disorders. Although it is obvious, that, within countries, eating disorders can be of influence to residents of all socioeconomic levels. People with eating disorders indicate the same personality and behavioral traits, which are dependency, low self-esteem, and problems with self-direction. We now look at the causes of eating disorders (Leone, 2001).

Studies indicate that there is no basis for the development of eating disorders. An individual’s concerns about body shape and weight play a significant role in all cases of eating disorders. The actual causes of these disorders appear to be because of many factors including family pressures, emotional, cultural, and personality disorders. In addition, biologic and genetic factors may also contribute to the development of eating disorders. The primary cause is the negative family influences on the patients of eating disorders. Some studies have come up several theories and observations in view of family influence. Poor parenting by both parents has led to eating disorders in their young ones. Young girls try to lose weight with the comfort of their mothers. More so, a mother with a history of eating disorder tends to contribute to the development of eating disorders in teenage girls. Family history of emotional disorders is a factor in eating disorders. Many young children with eating disorders have parents with alcoholism or abuse of substances tendencies. Another negative family influence comes from families with history of obesity (Shelley, 2006).

In relation to genetic factors, eating disorders appear to be common in people whose relatives have the disease. Doctors suggest that genetic factors are the leading cause of many cases of eating disorders. Further research has come up with chromosomes that maybe associated with certain types of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. In addition, doctors link proteins with these disorders, for example, brain derived neurotrophic factor. Lastly, cultural pressures also contribute significantly to the development of eating disorders. The move towards food in Western countries is particularly difficult. The food produced is rich in calories leading to different cases of obesity. We now turn attention on Anorexia eating disorder (Graves, 2000).

Anorexia is an eating disorder in which the sufferers deny themselves food. It usually starts in young individuals around the period of puberty. Through denying him or herself food, the sufferer of anorexia will continue to lose weight and eventually endure severe emotional and physical disturbance. For example, most anorexic people weigh about 15% lower than the standard weight for their height and age. Anorexic persons have a genuine fear for gaining weight and their view of their body shape and size is in distortion. This fear makes them not to maintain a normal body weight. Teens with anorexia limit their food consumption by fasting; dieting, or excessive exercise and this make them lose weight rapidly. In severe cases, they do not eat at all, and the small food they eat becomes an obsession. Anorexics have it in their mind that they have excess weight even when they are remarkably thin and ill (Watson, 2007).

An anorexic person is at the risk of contracting other serious problems ranging from recurrent infections and general adverse health to life threatening conditions. Having anorexia affects the person’s mind and body. Some researches propose that anorexia has the highest death rate of any psychiatric disorder. These deaths occur because of some conditions like being younger, being sick for more than six years, having been previously obese, having an accompanying severe psychological disorder, and being younger. Anorexia usually occurs after a significant life change. In most cases, it happens after episodes of stress, like sexual or physical abuse, procuring an abortion, change in schools, divorce, when children leave home, or losing a job (Watson, 2007).

What causes Anorexia? Just like other eating disorders, anorexia has no one cause. Researchers claim that what triggers anorexia is a combination of many factors. The first one is genetic factors like individuality. Teens who are perfectionists or prone to depression or nervousness seem to be more likely to develop anorexia than the other teens who are normal. Relatives with people who have anorexia are more likely to develop the disorder unlike those with relatives who are in excellent health. Researchers are trying to discover the gene that might influence a person’s tendency to develop this disorder. Psychological factor can lead to the development of anorexia. Those females who have experience of assault physically and sexually are more likely to develop eating disorders unlike females who have no history of assault. The ones with an identity crisis have increased chances of developing this disorder. Social factors are also another cause of anorexia. Media and cultural beliefs play a significant role in triggering eating disorders. In this current society, there is extreme pressure on women to be slender, and this has a negative impact on some people (Costin, 2006).

Anorexic persons have several signs and symptoms. These symptoms can either be psychological, behavioral, and physical signs. The life of a person with anorexia can also have an effect on other family members. Some of the psychological and behavioral symptoms are depression, irritability, and loss of sleep, fatigue, poor concentration, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, and many more. People with anorexia are normally underweight, and this imposes pressure on them making them be depressed anorexic persons are easily irritable, and get upset quickly. The lack sleep, which in turn makes them to, fatigued during the day. They have low concentration on what they do, and their attention is not steady. They lack control of their lives, and most sufferers of anorexia tend to addicts of drugs, alcohol, gambling etc. the most notable obsession is that of excessive exercise so that they can lose weight rapidly.

Some of the complications for anorexic people include gastrointestinal complications, heart and circulatory system complications, kidney functioning, the glandular system break down, and bone density loss. Physical signs and symptoms include constant checking of their weight, obsession with eating, weight control, and food, counting food carefully, a feeling of being fat, withdrawing from social scenes especially those involving food and celebrations, and remarkable loss of weight. Anorexia makes the sufferer has dry, flaky skin that takes on a yellow tinge. Their nails become fragile, and the regular vomiting erodes the dental enamel. In addition to these, the sufferers of anorexia have medical consequences, which are shrunken bones, low body temperatures, mineral loss, and irregular heartbeat. Other medical effects are development of osteoporosis and permanent failure of normal growth (Lask, 2000).

The next aspect is the treatment of anorexia. Treatment for this disorder is a continuing procedure, with several results showing that it works. Most patients who take up the treatment process recover fully from this disorder. To start the treatment, there is the need to reconstruct the health of the sufferer. This first process is through weight gain and better eating habits. It is common for the anorexics to decline treatment, and for some, the weight gain process will be a forced one. This is through hospitalization and in serious cases tubal feeding. Psychotherapy is the next step after the starvation has stopped. The second step is essential in dealing with psychological issues in relation to the eating disorder. The treatment will also involve cognitive, behavioral therapy whose purpose is to restructure negative notions and change behaviors. Another beneficial therapy is the group and family therapy and interpersonal therapy. In general, treatment of anorexia must center its energy more on weight gain. On medication, no one medication has proof of reducing the obsession to starve them. The only suggestions present in the treatment of anorexia are medications to stabilize moods, that may help in weight gain and to control some emotional signs like depression and anxiety.

Anorexia is a psychiatric condition that has the highest death rate with approximately 6% sufferers succumbing to the complications of the disease. The usual reason for these deaths of anorexic people is medical complications they develop including cardiac arrest. There have been severe cases where the anorexics commit suicide because of depression and lack of control of their lives. Mostly recovery from this eating disorder takes at least five years. It is advisable that a sufferer of anorexic visits a nearby emergency hospital for treatment (Swain, 2006).

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is evident that eating disorders are exceedingly common among young people and adolescents especially the females. There are several signs and symptoms of these disorders which the parents and guardians of teens need to look out. The known types of eating disorders have minimal difference and it is noteworthy that one identifies which one he or she is suffering from and gets the proper medication. The available treatment options rely on each sufferer and their families. The most valuable thing is for people learning to be comfortable with their weight and body shape. This is the main cause of eating disorders in teenagers and females across America. There is the need to advise and educate the sufferers on how like their bodies, understanding their eating habits, and accepting themselves in the way they are.

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