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Anorexia, bulimia and related eating disorders treatment Essay

Anorexia and Bulimia


            In the United States, millions of people are affected by severe eating disorders which are sometimes life-threatening. Bulimia nervosa and Anorexia nervosa are the most common destructive eating disorders. Over 90% of those individuals who are affected with these eating disorders are youthful women. About 1% of the young girls develop anorexia nervosa, which is a risky condition where those girls can starve themselves literary to death while another 2% or 3% of youthful women get bulimia nervosa, which is also a vicious pattern of extreme overheating which is usually followed by vomiting among other “purging” behaviors. Anorexia and Bulimia have gotten to epidemic proportions. For instance, a new study conducted by NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) revealed that 50% of girls have noteworthy eating disorders during their teens. Anorexia and bulimia obviously are severe disorders that require and necessitate serious attention. Nevertheless, many individuals are not knowledgeable regarding the disorders; therefore do not distinguish warning signs most of the times until when it is too late. Anorexia and bulimia are destructive eating disorders which can have adverse effects on human beings if not well treated (Buckroyd & Rother, 2008).

            Anorexia nervosa refers to a disorder in which individuals starve themselves intentionally. The disorder, which usually begins in young individuals around the puberty stage, involves excessive weight loss. Different from normal dieting, which ends after the desired weight is attained, in anorexia weight loss and dieting persists until the sufferer is below normal limit for height and age. Numerous anorectics appear to be emaciated however are certain that they are suffering from overweight. The most frightening aspects of this disorder is that individuals suffering from anorexia continue perceiving that they are suffering from overweight even when they become bone-thin. In this regard these individuals get scared of gaining extra weight due to the unknown reasons. Bulimics also have this fear (Retrieved March 17, 2004, from http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/CG9FullGuideline.pdf).

            As eating disorders usually develop in adolescence stage, they can blight social and physical development and numerous sufferers are unable to achieve their academic potential. A mood which is depressed is a frequent feature, partially because of these unfavorable effects and also due to the distressing nature of key warning signs of these disorders. Adverse physical effects of dieting, purging behaviors and weight loss are critical and usually prove to be fatal. In fact, anorexia has the highest rate of mortality of any adolescence psychiatrist disorder (Espejo, 2012).

            Approximately 40% of anorexics start developing the bulimia disorder later. Bulimia nervosa differs a bit from the anorexia since individuals suffering from bulimia don’t shun eating. Instead, people with bulimia usually consume huge food amounts over short period of time after which they get rid of the eaten food quickly through taking diuretics or laxatives or vomiting. Bulimia is 2 or 3 times more prevalent compared to anorexia and is also more common in females compared to males. Nevertheless bulimia has an effect slightly on older age group, frequently women who are in their early to mid-twenties who were overweight during their childhood. Since many bulimics “binge and purge” in top secret and maintain body weight which normal or above normal, they can habitually hide their disorder successfully from other individuals for many years. The bulimics challenging eating pattern is an uncontrollable and compulsive one that results to chemical imbalances in their bodies. These imbalances lead to depression, clouded thinking and lethargy (Retrieved March 17, 2004, from http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/CG9FullGuideline.pdf ).

            Both bulimia and anorexia when severe can lead to colon damage, constipation, muscle spasms, irregular or loss of menstruation, seizures, urinary tract infections, kidney dysfunction, chronic indigestion and strain on most of the organs of the body. The bulimia vomiting practices can result to a ruptured stomach, swollen salivary glands, erosion of dental enamel and also chronic sore gullet and throat. The anorexia malnutrition also has its own effects which include; growth of hair all over the body which is down-like, severe cold sensitivity and inability to concentrate and think rationally. Both bulimia and anorexia have severe physical effects which are reversible if dealt with during the early stages. Nevertheless the diseases are deadly and it is imprudent to disregard the warning signs and delay the treatment. In a case where the disorders are unattended, they can take away quality of life of an individual or even life altogether (Retrieved March 17, 2004, from http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/CG9FullGuideline.pdf ).

            Eating disorders consist of a variety of syndromes including social, psychological and physical features. Even as the acute physical impediments of these disorders might arouse immense concern in health care staff and family members, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are often chronic conditions having considerable long –term social and physical sequelae, from which recovery turn out to be complex. Long-term disabilities comprise negative effects on fertility, parenting, relationships and employment. The impact of an individual’s eating disorder on family life and home is usually significant and family members might carry a great burden over a long time. Frequently family members are at a loss to be acquainted with how to assist and offer support to a relative who is affected (Retrieved March 17, 2004, from http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/CG9FullGuideline.pdf).

            Various different ideas exist concerning the causes of anorexia and bulimia disorders and it is essential to recognize that not all these ideas apply to all the sufferers. Royal college of psychiatrists records on its website the potential causes of bulimia and anorexia; they include control, depression, puberty, social pressures, upsetting events and family. Social pressures for individuals to be thin are usually brought on by newspapers, magazines and television that are filled with pictures of men and women who are slim and attractive. Many individuals have a notion that they must look in accordance with the way the media enlightens them they look. Some individuals develop eating disorders since they perceive to be out of control in various aspects of their weight and life and what they consume is something which they can be able to control (Garner & Garfinkel, 1997).

            The latest increases in prevalence and incidents of eating disorders can be accredited to both improved method of diagnosis and increase in number of cases. On the other hand, even with better eating disorder identification, numerous bulimics and anorectics do not look for assistance. Bulimia and anorexia are diseases that are often very quiet since they are not concerns that individuals like discussing openly. Receiving quality care during the early stages of the disorders is the predicator of an excellent outcome in bulimia and anorexia (Retrieved March 17, 2004, from http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/CG9FullGuideline.pdf ).

            Bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are multidimensional and multifaceted; thus many experts have a perception that referral for professional assessment and assistance is necessary for people showing signs of eating disorders. According to college of Royal psychiatrists illustrates that recognizing that an individual is suffering from an eating disorder and also getting the treatment is challenging. Individuals suffering from anorexia have extreme and alarming weight loss but such sufferers will never admit that they have a problem. On the other hand, individuals suffering from bulimia usually feel ashamed and guilty of their behavior and may go on to greater extents with an aim of hiding it. Due to these reasons, all individuals should be knowledgeable regarding the warning signs of these disorders so as to distinguish them and reduce their existence (Friedman & Skancke, 2009).

            In a case where it is recognized that a certain individual is a sufferer of either bulimia or anorexia or both, treatment is crucial. There are various different options when it comes to treatment which includes education, family therapy, possibly hospitalization, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, psychotherapy, drug therapy and reality imaging. During therapy treatments, therapists assist the sufferers work to alter the unclear and inflexible thinking patterns relating to eating disorders. Mental health professionals’ efforts necessitate to be combined together with those of the other health professionals to get the most excellent treatment. Nutritionists give an advice on eating and diet regimes while physicians treat the medical complications (Lawton, 2005).

            In conclusion, scientists have discovered that combination of medication and psychotherapy is also very effectual. There are no specific drugs approved for anorexia and bulimia, however numerous, including a number of antidepressants, are being examined for this use. Bulimics and anorectics can be perceived as dieting junkies and an effective treatment might be a drug which is regularly prescribed to the addicts (Espejo, 2012). A Detroit scientist examined Naltrexone, the drug which is given to do away with the heroin habit, in those women having bulimia and anorexia and established the drug to be productive. With the drug, the weight of the anorectics stabilized and bulimics essentially decreased their purges and binges. Effective treatment can save life of an individual with an eating disorder. Teachers, friends, relatives, physicians and relatives all play a great role in assisting the ill individual start and continue with a treatment program.


Buckroyd, J., & Rother, S. (2008). Psychological responses to eating disorders and obesity recent and innovative work. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons.

Eating Disorders. (n.d.). Core interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and related eating disorders. Retrieved March 17, 2004, from http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/CG9FullGuideline.pdf

Espejo, R. (2012). Eating disorders. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.

Friedman, L. S., & Skancke, J. (2009). Eating disorders. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press/Gale Cengage Learning.

Garner, D. M., & Garfinkel, P. E. (1997). Handbook of treatment for eating disorders (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

Lawton, S. A. (2005). Eating disorders information for teens: health tips about anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and other eating disorders including information on the causes, prevention, and treatment of eating disorders, and such other issues as maintaining healthy eating a. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics.

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