Eating Disorders: Anorexia
Each year millions of people in the United States are affected by serious and sometimes life-threatening eating
disorders. The vast majority are adolescents and young adult women. Approximately one percent of adolescents
girls develop anorexia nervosa, a dangerous condition in which they can literally starve themselves to death.
Another two to three percent develop bulimia nervosa, a destructive pattern of excessive overeating followed by
vomiting or other ' purging ' behaviors to control their weight. These eating disorders also occur in men and older
women , but much less frequently. The consequences of eating disorders can be severe. For example, one in ten
anorexia nervosa leads to death from starvation, cardiac arrest, or suicide. Fortunately, increasing awareness of the
dangers of eating disorders, sparked by medicall studies and extensive media coverage, has led many poeple to
seek help. Nevertheless, some people with eating disorders refuse to admit that they have a problem and do not get
treatment. Family and friends can help recognize the problem and encourage the person to seek treatment.
Anorexia nervosa is a disorder where people intentionally starve themselves. It usually starts around the time of
puberty and involves extreme weight loss. Sometimes they must be hospitalized to prevent starvation because food
and weight become obsessions. For some, the compulsiveness shows up in strange eating rituals, some even
collect recipes and prepare gourmet feasts for family and friends. Loss of monthly menstrual periods is typical in
women with this disorder and men with this disorder usually become impotent.
People with bulmia nervosa consume large amounts of food and then rid their bodies of the excess calories by
vomiting, abusing laxatives or excersising obsessively. Some use a combination of all these forms of purging.
Many individuals with bulimia ' binge and purge ' in...