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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