Essay about eating disorders

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Eat to live – don’t live to eat (or not to). This is very hard for a person with an eating disorder to understand since food is their tool for handling the stress and anxiety in their lives. Eating disorders affect millions of Americans each year (Eating Disorders 1). The most common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Compulsive Overeating. These disorders are serious, and, when taken to extremes, can be life threatening as well.
     All eating disorders arise from a combination of long-standing psychological, interpersonal, and social conditions (Gurze 24). Several other factors such as family and personal problems, a low self-esteem, and the desire for the “ideal” body may also
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Behaviorally, they may frequently weigh themselves, have insomnia, exercise compulsively, layer their clothing, and show increased tension at mealtimes. They may show signs of depression, perfectionism, and irritability. They usually tend to have difficulty thinking clearly, a low sense of worth, a distorted body image, a decreased interest in sex, and an intense fear of becoming fat (Ratner 6).
     Anorexia may begin with a normal person who diets intending only to lose “just a few pounds”. Dieting then becomes an obsession as they develop a distorted body image and feel larger than they really are. Soon, 5 to 10 pounds is not enough and they slowly begin to avoid food either by denying hunger or claiming to be stuffed after a few small bites.
     Extreme weight loss is not the only result of this refusal of food. A person with Anorexia can expect a loss of head hair, growth of fine body hair, constipation, intolerance of cold temperatures, and low pulse rate. Also, certain endocrine functions become impaired causing a cessation of menstruation in women, and, in men, an interruption of normal reproductive system processes. Anorexia can also lead to death, which claims about 10-15 percent of Anorexic patients (Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa 1).
     Treatment of Anorexia consists of nutritional therapy, individual
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