Ever since there were social norms there has been a rising amount of cases of eating disorders
Ever since there were social norms there has been a rising amount of cases of eating disorders. The first ever eating disorder was documented by a French physician by the name of Louis-Victor Marcé in 1859 where he diagnosed a patient with anorexia. Since then there has been 16 newly founded eating disorders. Every eating disorder is dangerous and needs to be taken very seriously, but in the society, we live in today we make many jokes about them.
The gender that is mainly affected by eating disorders is females. In a study done by The Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness shows that 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder. It also showed that “eating disorders affect up to 24 million Americans and 70 million individuals worldwide.” (ndsu.EDU) 90% of people with eating disorders are women within the ages of 12 and 25. The study also showed that the leading cause of an eating disorder is dieting. In addition, the study showed that “society starts females at a younger age where 51% of 9 and 10-year old’s feel better about themselves if they are on a diet” (nsdu.edu). These younger girls see models being super skinny and want to emulate them so much that they start to look at themselves and see themselves as “fat” so they start to diet.
Studies have shown that it is mostly teenagers that are affected by eating disorders, but clinics have shown that it is usually females between the ages of 20-30 that seek therapy. This is probably due to the fact that younger people hate going to the doctors which would cause them not to seek professional help. When a younger person goes to the doctor for an eating disorder it is usually the parent who brings them in, so they can get help. This shows that younger girls as well as teenage girls only care about being attractive and that they don’t value being healthy.
Creighton University described an eating disorder as Eating disorders are “complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors”. The study went in depth on how there isn’t just one factor that causes an eating disorder. They categorized the factors into seven different categories which are psychological, interpersonal, social, excessive, dieting, genetics, and other factors that can contribute to them. For the psychological factor it classified them into two studies in which they received similar results between patients. They classified some of the causes of anorexia as a “fear of growing up, inability to separate from the family, need to be pleased or liked, perfectionism, depression, anxiety, anger, or loneliness, lack of self-esteem to go along with high family expectations.”(Creighton) For bulimia they classified some of the causes as “difficulty regulating your mood, being depressed, anxious, anger, or lonely, also you are more impulsive and will sometimes become involved in shoplifting or abuse substances. In addition to substance abuse it says that you could have been sexually abused, have family disfunction, or low self-esteem”. (Creighton) Within the classification of interpersonal, the study says that you could have a troubled family and poor relationships with your peers, you could also have a problem expressing your emotions and feelings, you have been bullied or made fun of because of your weight, or you have had a history of being abused both sexually and physically. The social category from this study is from how society’s view plays a role and how different norms like having to be fit play a role in eating disorders. The excessive exercise is actually classified as a form of anorexia and they are still studying the causes of it because it is a newer form of an eating disorder. In addition to the new study on exercise it shows that dieting is just as bad because it makes us feel as if we need to lose more weight even though we are a healthy weight.
According to the DSM-5 you have an eating disorder if you fit into 2 out of the 3 categories. First, you have a restriction of energy intake relative to requirements leading to a low body weight for your age, sex, and physical health. Second, you have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat even if you are underweight. Third, you have a disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight. (DSM-5). The disorders are often associated with other illnesses like depression, but they can be alone. Eating disorders are awful and can be fatal.
Everywhere somebody looks today, someone will notice a skinny girl on a sign and that is because our culture values women being skinny, not just teenagers and those in their twenties. This plays true to the fashion models, which a lot of women idolize. They are tall and skinny, and they set the beauty standards for today’s women with unrealistic goals. Women today are valued based off of how they look, regardless of how many accomplishments they’ve achieved. A woman can be very successful, and she will still be judged off of her appearance. From a young age, females are taught that they have to be beautiful, and in school the pressure on them is a lot stronger than what guys go through because they always need to have a “summer body” or be working toward one.
A horrible eating disorder that is growing rapidly is anorexia nervosa. This disease is when a person has lost their appetite for food. This eating disorder occurs because the person views themselves as overweight even if they are underweight. these people tend to monitor their weight closely and tend to take in as little calories as possible. Some symptoms of anorexia are having an extremely low body weight, severe food restriction, unwillingness to maintain a normal weight, and an intense fear of gaining weight. Treatment for someone with anorexia is challenging but is easiest to monitor them in a hospital. While monitoring them you want to pay close attention to their vitals because their body is malnourished. In most cases you will have to feed the patient through a tube in the beginning of treatment because they will resist the food. The next thing that you will have to do is help them get to and maintain a healthy weight and have them meet with a nutritionist multiple times, so they can set up a meal plan to follow. After you help them meet and maintain a healthy weight you want them to go through therapy so that you can help them go through the wrong weight gaining beliefs and teach them new ones. (Mayo Clinic)
Another eating disorder that is growing rapidly is bulimia nervosa. Bulimia nervosa is another fatal eating disorder if left untreated. “Bulimia is when people have recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feel a lack of control over the episode.” (National Institute of Mental Health). The excessive eating is then followed by forced vomiting, laxative use, fasting, and excessive exercise. People with bulimia usually maintain a healthy weight but they also fear gaining weight, want to lose weight desperately and are unhappy with their body image. The binge eating can occur from several times a week to many times a day. Some other symptoms of Bulimia are sore throat, swollen salivary glands, acid reflux, and severe dehydration with an electrolyte imbalance. This is another eating disorder that affects more females than males, and it usually begins in the late teenage years to early adult years. “Many individuals who suffer with binge eating disorder use food as a way to cope with or block out feelings and emotions they do not want to feel” (www.mirror-mirror.org) When you are receiving treatment for bulimia you will go through psychotherapy and will more than likely be given antidepressants. Treatment is usually set up through team work which includes you, your family, your primary care and your therapist. If you don’t have a severe case of bulimia you will most likely be able to go home and treat it. The team will set you up with a nutritionist, so you can learn about what you are doing to your body and they can tell you what to eat to help your body while you are recovering. Bulimia is a very serious eating disorder and it’s on you to want to fix it because they can set you up with the things you need but you have to execute the plan.
Although most studies show that women are more likely to have an eating disorder than men our society is evolving and with that men are getting more sensitive. This is because we are evolving from a time that we had to be hunters. Now in society we don’t have to provide meals for our family. In addition to that we have a lot newer and stricter social norm than we are used to and that puts a lot of stress on how our appearance should be. A survey showed that an estimated 1 million men have an eating disorder.(nationaleatingdisorders.org) This number has risen since eating disorders have been discovered tremendously.
The number of cases of males is rising greatly due to our society being more accepting. In a recent study by National eating disorders showed that one in three males will be diagnosed with an eating disorder. (Nationaleatingdisorders.org) But men still don’t want to seek help because our culture shows that as being weak. When a man finally goes and gets help they receive similar results to women, but all treatment is different, and this is because guys have a higher chance of death resulting from having an eating disorder. “A gender-sensitive approach with recognition of different needs and dynamics for males is critical in effective treatment. Men and boys in treatment can feel out of place when predominantly surrounded by women, and an all-male treatment environment is recommended—when possible.” (Nationialeatingdisorders.org) for example Anorexia Nervosa effects males differently than females. One way that it differs is that males with the disorder have a lot lower levels of vitamin D and testosterone. The increased amount of eating disorders in men is coming because society is setting stricter standards on how they should look. Society believes that a man should have a fit body with a lot of muscles which is unrealistic. This stands true for another reason and that is that men think that they need a muscular body to be sexually attractive. “The desire for increased musculature is not uncommon, and it crosses age groups. 25% of normal weight males perceive themselves to be underweight and 90% of teenage boys exercised with the goal of bulking up.” (nationaleatingdisorders.org)
Muscle dysmorphia is a new disorder that mainly effects men and is very common in body builders. This disorder makes the person think that they do not look muscular enough, so they only eat foods that help promote muscle gain. The person will also spend many hours at the gym, pay a lot of money on supplements in order to promote muscle growth. If that fails, the person will develop unhealthy eating habits to try to promote gains but that will cause them to get fatter or lose weight. If they don’t feel like anything is working the person could begin using steroids which would be very detrimental to their health.
There are many ways in which you can help with the problem of body image effecting boys. First you can tell them that they don’t have to be super fit to look attractive. Another way is to tell them that they don’t have to rush to become fit because it is healthier to lose weight and gain muscle more slowly. If a child develops an eating disorder it is possible to give them more exercises and diets that are appropriate for his age. These are some of the many ways in which you can help prevent your kid from developing an eating disorder.
Treatment for men with an eating disorder is very similar to females. Family members would want to set up support groups. Have them meet with nutritionists to set up a healthy diet. teach them different ways to exercise because you don’t want them to rush back into after treatment has started for them. If the disorder is very bad and they won’t change then put them in the hospital, so they can be monitored closely, and the person will go see a psychiatrist to figure out what is causing the problem, and then the doctor will develop a plan for the patient to get healthy.
One strange eating disorder that is not spoken as often about as anorexia and bulimia is pica. Pica is an eating disorder in which someone may be drawn to ingest or otherwise consume non-food objects at least once a month (medscape.com) While babies and young children may consume small toys when they are young, it is perfectly natural. Pica is diagnosed when that behavior may be considered inappropriate or occurs very frequently. The frequent consumption of non-food items can lead to blockages of the digestive tract as well as malnourishment. Pica is found more often in children and pregnant women although it can affect many, over different cultures and backgrounds. It is theorized that both nutrient deficiencies and a tendency towards obsessive-compulsive behaviors may make certain individuals more inclined to show symptoms of pica. Therapy and nutrient supplementation can be successful in treating pica, however there are no official treatment guidelines.
Overall, depression and personal strive seem to be a common thread in eating disorders. One broad treatment that seems to be effective for the large majority of them is cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavior therapy treats the mental and emotional aspects of eating disorders. Both cognitive factors and behavioral factors play a large role in eating disorders and cognitive behavioral therapy can treat this rapidly. If correctly executed people will go into remission and possibly cure their disorder. This is a good therapy because it doesn’t require medications and therefore has practically no side effects.
Eating disorders are a very dangerous problem that is growing very rapidly. These eating disorders are curable but can be fatal if you don’t go and seek medical help. The main cause of all these eating disorders comes from our societies because we value ones looks over everything else. We need to do something about that quickly because people are going to find other ways to get the look that they put out. I can also see that the number of men with eating disorders is going to rise quickly as well because of all the pressure that we have on us to look a certain way. Eating disorders are very dangerous and shouldn’t be taken lightly.