Essay on History of Eating Disorders

Submitted By scarlettcarr
Words: 1211
Pages: 5

Eating Disorders: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop!
Many people hear about eating disorders and how they are affecting every generation, but no one really knows how these terrible disorders started or the history. The three types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating. Eating disorders include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues; they are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life threatening consequences for not only females, but also males. One must be aware of the history of eating disorders to truly understand how these disorders are affecting our society.
Anorexia nervosa is when a person starves themselves and loses a great amount of weight, which can be life threatening. It is the most common among women. The symptoms of this disorder are fear and being obsessed with gaining weight and doing whatever it takes to not gain weight, very low self-esteem, and not being able to see how dangerous the disorder is (Anorexia). The more advanced the disorder is, the higher the rate of death of the person; 5-20% of people dealing with anorexia nervosa die (Anorexia). Bulimia nervosa is when a person eats excessively and afterwards they vomit because of all the food they ate. The symptoms of this disorder are “[f]requent episodes of consuming very large amount of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, a feeling of being out of control during the binge-eating episodes, self-esteem overly related to body image”(Bulimia). Binge eating disorder, also known as BED, is when people consume huge amounts of food while feeling out of control and powerless to stop. Symptoms of this disorder are “[f]requent episodes of consuming very large amount of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, feeling of being out of control during the binge eating episodes, feelings of strong shame or guilt regarding the binge eating”(Binge). When the binge eating disorder is starting to get out of control, a person eats even if they are not hungry, eating until they feel uncomfortable, or because they feel ashamed of what they are doing, they eat by themselves (Binge). If these disorders are treated in the early stages, the person has a higher chance of getting better.
There has been historical evidence which shows that anorexia and bulimia have been around at least since the first century. For example, during the time of Julius Caesar, the rich Romans would eat a great amount of food at banquets and then they “relieved themselves by vomiting so they could return to the feast and continue eating,” the Egyptians have hieroglyphic drawings that show that they would vomit in order to avoid getting sick, and the “Persian medical manuscripts and Chinese scrolls” all had descriptions of the eating disorders that we today have in the modern world (Dombeck, Engel, and Reiss). Every country around the world has eating disorders in their history. Some people had eating disorders because of their religion, to show that they were true to their god. For example, during the “post-pagan Christian era,” women would starve themselves out of rebellion because they knew that doing that to their body was “considered evil”(Dombeck, Engel, and Reiss). The first formal diagnosis of an eating disorder was in 1689 by physician Richard Morton, he believed that the cause was “sadness and anxious cares” (Garner, Garfinkel).
It is important for people to know what these eating disorders are and the symptoms because by knowing this can help save someone's life. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), “ [i]n the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder”(Prevalence). If people are more educated and know more about the disorders, they can help save