It is estimated that over eight million people in the United States are suffering from some form of anorexia with a ratio of 7: 1 of women being diagnosed versus men. Anorexia carries the highest death rate among people who suffer from mental illness. This disorder is prevalent among females between the ages of 12-25 and 20% of all anorexic people die a premature death. One reason for the high rate rate is because only 1 out of 10 people seek treatment for the disease.
Although an exact cause for the disorder is unclear, one possible reason may be due to someone's genetic predisposition that makes them more likely to develop the disease. People with the disorder may suffer from psychological problems such as low self-esteem, susceptibility to control their temper, problems with impulse control and conflicts in their relationships. Our modern-day culture puts undue pressure on people to be thin, especially young people.
There are many types of eating disorders that varies with each patient. Some common ones are listed below:
Anorexia nervosa : A person with this disorder may be obsessed with being thin, refuses to eat, may deny being hungry, has a distorted image of themselves with an extreme fear of gaining weight, may exercise to excess, is socially withdrawn, becomes excessively thin , develops medical maladies such as dry skin, a low heart rate and low blood pressure.
Bulimia nervosa : When a person sufferers from this disorder, they have an unhealthy body image and are afraid of gaining weight. They suffer from episodes of binging and purging. They stuff themselves with food and then vomit it up by sticking their finger down their throat to elicit the gag reflex which causes them to throw up the food they have just ateen. They do this immediately after eating before the food can circulate in their bloodstream and set in motion the process of adding fat to their cells. Laxatives and excessive exercise are also utilized to lose or maintain their weight. This practice may cause the person to be dehydrated, develop menstrual irregularities, plus the acid in the food that is thrown up may damage their teeth and create sores in the throat and mouth.
Binge-eating disorder: This disorder affects males almost as much as it affects females. This disorder is similar to bulimia nervosa where they gorge themselvesselves on food but they do not vomit it up; therefore, they usually become obese. They may overeat even when they are not hungry. If they become obese, it puts them at a higher risk of developing medical problems such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure and more. They are usually plagued by guilty feelings and shame which causes them to do more binge-eating.
While eating disorders are difficult to treat, it is estimated that 30-40% of people afflicted are successfully treated with psychotherapy, medications, nutritional education and family counseling.