Anorexia and Bulimia

Essay by natasha029University, Bachelor'sA+, January 2004

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One of the most common problems amongst young people in today's society is eating disorders. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. As many as twenty percent of females in their teenage and adult years suffer from either anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Males are also afflicted by these eating disorders, but at a much lower rate, with a female to male ratio of six to one. Those with anorexia nervosa refuse to maintain a normal body weight by not eating and have an intense fear of gaining weight. People who suffer from bulimia nervosa go through periods of binge eating and then purging, or sometimes not purging but instead refraining from eating at all for days.

Both of these disorders can do a number on a person's body and mental state, forcing them to become emaciated and often depressed. There is no known exact cause of either anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, but many factors play a role in the initial onset, such as personality traits, low self-esteem, and social and cultural influences.

All of these factors are common in eating disorders, but all need not be present for the disorder to occur.

Many anorexics have specific personality traits that urge them to refrain from eating. Many are perfectionists that will diet and exercise and not eat until their bodies are perfect. Unfortunately, however, he or she never thinks their body is perfect, so the destructive cycle carries on. Anorexics that are perfectionists also tend to want to be in control at all time. Often, they feel as though others are trying to force them to do things, and so they take complete control of their bodies, the one thing only they can control. Marcia, 18, an anorexic, wrote in her diary...