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Anorexia can be defined as an eating disorder that is associated with a distorted body image of oneself. This condition affects females more frequently, occurring primarily in adolescence or young adulthood. Unfortunately, the exact cause of this disease remains unknown and it is very difficult to diagnose. However, it has been found that social attitudes towards body appearance and family factors play an active role in the disease’s development.

An individual that is suffering with Anorexia characteristically will be extremely sensitive about their weight, or being perceived as fat. Not all individuals have the main concern of being fat however. They might be afraid of losing control. Anorexia is also associated with control; typically the individual will go to great measures to restrict what goes into their mouths. It is a great struggle to remain in control at all times, even going as far as to monitor their emotions.

Some of the warning signs can be: obsessive exercise, calorie and fat gram counting, starvation and restriction of food, self-induced vomiting, the use of diet pills, laxatives or diuretics to attempt controlling weight, and a persistent concern with body image. It is not uncommon for people that are suffering with Anorexia to go through periods in which they binge and purge as well. This is associated with the disease Bulimia.

Bulimia is an illness that is characterized by uncontrolled episodes of overeating usually followed by self-induced vomiting or other purging. These episodes may occur as often as several times in a day. The individual is usually aware that their eating patterns are unhealthy and similar to Anorexia; this illness is associated with feelings of fear and guilt. This disorder also occurs most often in females of adolescent or young adult stage. The frequency of Bulimia is estimated to be 3% in the general population; but an overwhelming 20% of college women suffer from it. The Student Health Care Center at the University of Florida offers very helpful information on eating disorders.

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