The sad reality is that no matter how many health facts you shove into a persons brain, they aren’t always going to believe you and unfortunately not everybody cares. More often than you probably know, people resort to eating disorders as a way to lose weight faster. An eating disorder is an unhealthy relationship with food and weight that interferes with many areas of a person’s life. One’s thoughts become preoccupied with food, weight or exercise. Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are the two main eating disorders (Curtis). Having an eating disorder doesn’t always mean that you think that you are fat, there are many other psychological reasons that cause one to resort to such an unhealthy life choice. People use food as a coping mechanism to deal with uncomfortable or painful emotions or to help them feel more in control when feelings or situations seem over-whelming.
Before learning more about these disorders it is important to understand what each one is and how they relate to each other. A person with Anorexia may have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat. Someone with Anorexia may practice unhealthy behaviors such as restricting calories, only eating specific foods or skipping meals frequently. A person with Bulimia may also be intensely afraid of becoming fat or gaining weight. Someone with Bulimia may eat large amounts of food in a short period of time and then eliminate the food and calories by making themselves throw it back up. A person who suffers from Bulimia may also take diet pills, laxatives, or exercise excessively to purge weight or calories (ANAD). And of course, there are many fatal health effects with Anorexia and Bulimia. With Anorexia the process of starvation can affect most organ systems. Physical dangers include constipation, low heart rate/blood pressure, abdominal pain, dry skin, fine body hair and lack of menstrual periods. Anorexia also causes anemia, bone loss, kidney problems and changes in brain function. And with Bulimia, vomiting and laxative abuse can lead to swollen glands, vitamin and mineral imbalance and wearing down of tooth enamel. There also can be long-lasting problems with digestion and the heart (Eat Right).
Psychological factors also come into play when you are trying to understand why somebody would develop an eating disorder. Although every case is different, clinicians have noticed patterns in physiological issues with patients that have eating disorders. For Anorexia: fear of growing up, a need to please people and/or be liked by