Friday, August 11, 2006

Eating Disorder: Anorexia and Bulimia

People with anorexia have an intense fear of being fat. When a person has anorexia, he or she hardly eats at all — and the small amount of food that is eaten becomes an obsession. A person with anorexia may weigh food before eating it or compulsively count the calories of everything. It is not unusual for a person with anorexia to also exercise excessively in an attempt to lose weight.

Bsically the two most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, more commonly known as anorexia and bulimia. The two disorders can be difficult to distinguish from each other because they have similar characteristics: With both anorexia and bulimia, the person will have a distorted image of his or her body. That person will seem to be obsessed with what he or she eats. And both anorexia and bulimia tend to affect girls more than guys, but 10% of the people with eating disorders are guys. And, because we typically think of eating disorders as only affecting girls, they often go unrecognized in guys. Guys with eating disorders also tend to focus more on athletic appearance or success than on just looking thin.

What Causes Anorexia and Bulimia?
No one is really sure what causes eating disorders, although there are many theories as to why people develop them. Most people who develop an eating disorder are between the ages of 14 and 18 (although they can develop even earlier in some people). At this time in their lives, many teens don't feel as though they have much control over anything. The physical and emotional changes that go along with puberty can make it easy for even the most confident person to feel a bit out of control. By controlling their own bodies, people with eating disorders feel as though they can regain some control — even if it is done in an unhealthy way......

Effects of Eating Disorders
Whatever the cause of an eating disorder, the effects can be damaging — if not downright devastating and life threatening. People who weigh at least 15% less than the normal weight for their height may not have enough body fat to keep their organs and other body parts healthy......


Treatment for Eating Disorders
Fortunately, people with eating disorders can get well and gradually learn to eat normally again. Because anorexia and bulimia involve both the mind and body, medical doctors, mental health professionals, and dietitians will often be involved in a person's treatment and recovery.

Therapy or counseling is a critical part of treating eating disorders — in many cases, family therapy is one of the keys to eating healthily again. Parents and other family members are important in helping a person see that his or her normal body shape is perfectly fine and that being thin doesn't make anyone happy. The most critical thing about treating eating disorders is to recognize and address the problem as soon as possible — like all bad habits, unhealthy eating patterns become harder to break the longer a person takes part in them. If you have an eating disorder, don't wait to get help — anorexia and bulimia can do a lot of damage to the body and mind if left untreated. At worst, eating disorders can kill, and at best, they leave a person feeling and looking terrible.

Get more information about Anorexia and Bulimia
Come to TeensHealthy