Eating Disorders - A Disease Of Perceptions

Body image is something that young women in America often struggle with on a daily basis. Their minds are flooded with images of rail thin models and celebrities who run the "it" crowd. Unfortunately, this is where many women become obsessed with weight and looks in hopes of making themselves perfect. Although there is no clear cut cause for an eating disorder, people with a family history of depression or anxiety, obesity, and even social factors are listed as very possible perpetrators for such syndromes. There are two well known types of eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa.

Anorexia is most likely the more well-known eating disorder in America today. Women with Anorexia will have what is called body-image distortion. This means because their views of what is attractive have become so distorted and skewed, what they see in the mirror isn’t necessarily what they actually look like.

So while you may see an attractive and healthy or sometimes underweight and malnourished individual, they will see nothing but flaws that need to be fixed typically their weight. Some tendencies include; using laxatives or enemas inappropriately, vomiting or excessive exercise routines. This can differ in several ways from the other common eating disorder called Bulimia Nervosa.

Bulimics have similar symptoms, but show different tendencies in their quest for the “perfect” body. While it is still classified as psychological condition dealing with body image this
condition causes the person to binge or overeat greatly on high fat or high calorie foods, and then purge most commonly with laxatives or vomiting. Although both of these disorders are generally categorized as psychological or sociological issues, new studies have shown that some sufferers of Bulimia could have hormonal imbalances specifically testosterone.

Body image matters have really evolved over time and have risen to staggering new heights in America over the last decade. Many will attribute this in large part to the fashion industry and endless media coverage on celebrities. While there is no "cure" for these disorders, anyone who has Anorexia or Bulimia needs treatment. It's been shown that people who receive treatment at earlier stages have a vastly higher chance of keeping a healthy body and mind.

It is important to be educated about the signs and symptoms of these disorders. If you or anyone close to you is more than moderately underweight, show obsessive or irrational fears of food or gaining weight seek help immediately. These are life threatening diseases, and shouldn't be taken lightly.