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Eating disorders are not a fad diet or an experiment to lose weight, but they are serious complex disorders that can take many years to recover from. Eating disorders affect five percent of women and one percent of men in the United States. The South Carolina Mental Health Department reports that five to ten percent of girls with eating disorders will die within ten years of having the disease. (“Statstics Eating” INT) Teenagers need to be aware of the warning signs, risk factors, and long and short term consequences of eating disorders.
“Eating disorders result from a complicated interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors” (Ciotola DB). There is no clear cause of eating disorders, but they can be a result of many things. “Although concerns about weight and body shape play a role in all eating disorders, the actual cause of these disorders appear to result from many factors, including cultural and family pressures and emotional and personality disorders.” (INT) Warning signs of eating disorders can either be very noticeable and very subtle. Anorexia, a reduced appetite or aversion to food, involves avoiding situations including food, an intense fear of gaining weight, and strange food rituals. People with bulimia, excessive eating followed by purging, consume a massive amount of calories and then get rid of the food by vomiting or using laxatives.
There are many ways to try and prevent an eating disorder from devloping. But, studies show that if you teach teens directly about eating disorders this can make them seem glamouros. (“Parents Act” INT) Therefore, prevention should not directly be associated with eating disorders but, with having a healthy lifestyle and acepting all people no matter what size they are. Since eating disorders usually devlop in teens and children, schools can help prevent eating disorders. Teachers and school counclers should have a general knowdgle on eating disorders. Schools can also help with prevention of eating disorders by holding after school support groups. Theese suppoort groups should engourage healthy lifestyle and eating habbits, but not dieting. These groups should also empower girls to feel good about their bodies no matter what size they are and also give girls a place where they can talk about the pressures to be thin that comes from peers and the media.
“A wide variety of factors have been considered important in the onset of eating disorders. Scientific studies of many of these factors have been inconclusive in verifying that they do indeed increase the risk of eating disorders. ” (INT) There are many risk factors for eating disorders that need to be recognized. Gender, age, and family history all may contribute to the development of an eating disorder. Other key factors may also include emotional disorders, dieting, life transitions, and various sports and work activities.
Even though eating disorders are found in males, females are more likely to develop them. Five percent of women and one percent of men in the United States are affected by eating disorders. Pre-teen and teen girls are at a higher risk than any other age or gender group. In a nationwide study, it was discovered that 12.3% of high school students have gone without eating for 24 hours or more to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight. (“Youth Risk” INT)
Family history, morals, and values can all contribute to the development of an eating disorder. Eating disorders are more likely to occur in people when someone in their family has struggled with the disorder in the past. Emphasis on outward appearance or physical traits can make a person become obsessed with looking perfect. If a person is put under a large amount of pressure and stress by their parents to be successful, an eating disorder can develop. Eating disorders can also develop because the person feels that she has lost all control in her life, and food is something she can control. If physical, sexual, or emotional abuse is taking place within a family, the person may look for a way to block out the pain or a way to punish herself, if she thinks she are the reason that the abuse is taking place.
Usually when a person struggles with an eating disorder there are other emotional or mental disorders involved. A person with emotional or mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder are at a higher risk for an eating disorder. Depression and eating disorders are not a good combination because every time a person with an eating disorder gets depressed they can turn to food or turn away from it. Eating disorders can occur in people who also struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder. .
“For someone with an eating disorder, OCD manifests itself by leading the person to count calories methodically, exercise an EXACT amount at a specific time every day, cutting food up in a certain order and in specific shapes, having to have everything perfect (which includes weight), and so on.” ( Obssesive Coompulsive” INT) Anxiety disorders can be a contributing factor to eating disorder becasue a person with an axiety diorder usually is always neverous or scared. The anxiety disorder can cause someone to be nervous or scared about gaining weight and thus resluting in an eating disorder.
“35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full syndrome eating disorders.” (Colotia DB) In todays society being on a diet is alost as normal as going to work or school. People in todays society are obssed with being thin and looking perfect. “In fact society is so obssed that the diet and diet related indstury makes fifty billion dollars a year.” (Garner 727-780) Girls as young as eight years old are on diets and enjoy, and feel better about themselves if they are on a diet.
Major and even minor life changes can trigger an eating disorder. Transitions or changes such as moving from Junior High to High school, a death in the family and parents getting divorced can be contrubutions to an eating disorder. Other trandsitions such as getting a new job, breaking up with a boyfriend, and moving to a new town or state can also be contrubiting factors. All of these transitions can be consisderd contributing factors becasue they usually casue stress and sometimes depression.
Certian extracricruclar activtive or even certian jobs can be a contrubuting factor to an eating disorder. In sports such as competitive cheerleading, gymnastics, ice skating, dance, and running a higher emphisis is put on thiness to be a sucessful athlete in those sports, therefore this could cause the disorder to devlop. Coaches or parents can acidently trigger an eating disorder by engouraging their athelete to lose weight so they can preform better. Also in jobs such as acting, modeling, or artiststry an eating disorder can devlop becasue in these jobs people are put in the sportlight and are willing to to whatever it takes to be better look than everyone else.
Eating disorders do not only effect a person before she finds help or treatment for her disorder but they can have lifelong effects on her health. Eating disorders have long and short term effects. Examples of short term effects are malnutrition, dehydration, electrolyte embalances, lanugo, edema, dry hair and skin, burising or swelling and hyperactivity. Theese are only a few of many short term effects of this life thereatning disorder. Long term effects include hypotension or hypertension, thrombocytopenia, diabetes, osteoperossis, kidney or liver infection and failure, amenorrhea, slowed heart rate, parlysis, and eventually death.( “Physical Dangers” INT)
The short term effects of eating disorders can be painful and unsightley. Malnutrition, dehydration and electrolye embalances are all casued becasue she is not getting enough vitimans and menerals to keep her body functioning normaly.Short term effects can also affect a young girls outward apperaance too some of these outward effects are lungo, which is soft down hair on face, back and arms. The body produces lungo as a mechinisim to keep it self warm becasue of the lack of fat on the body. Another outward effect is, “Edema, which is swelling of the soft tissues as a result of excess water accumulation. It is most common in the abdominal area of anorexics and bluemicas. (“Physical Dangers” INT)” Since there is a lack of fat on the body an anaorexic or blemic can burise more easily, therefore causeing brusing and then swelling. Hyperactivity can also be a short term effect of an eating disorder, this of course can be treated with medication.
Eating disorders do not only effect a girl while they are struggeling with them but they can go on to effect the girl for the rest of their life, even after she has stoped practicing eating diorder behaviors. Hypotension, low blood pressure is caused by malnutrition and dehyrdation. Hypotension can lead to heart complications suchs as hear arthymethis or shock. Hypotension, high blood pressure is more likely to occure in paitents that have binge
eating disorder or are compulsive overeaters. Thrombocytopenia, which is also known as low platelet count is caused by malnutrition and becasue of the lack of the vitiman B12 and floic acid. This can caused a weakend immune system. Diabetes is also a long term effect of an eating disorder which can be casued by hormone imbalances or hyperglycemia.
When someone struggles with an eating disorder, their body gets weaker and weaker as the disorder continues. An example of the body weaking is the devlopment of osteopreosis in someone with an eating disorder. Osteopreosis is a thinning of the bones, which makes them more sustainable to breaking. Amnorea which is the loss of a menstural cycle can casue a woman to not be able to have a child or be able to get pregnant.
Liver and kidney failure cacn also be a devastating effect of this disorder.Liver failure is caused by fasting and taking acedometophine which people with eating disorders do often. Kidney failure is caused by a the lack of vitimans that the kidneys need to function. Eating disorders can also reslut in paralysis becasue of the lack of potassium in the body causes the body to become very weak and unable to move. Eventually becsue of the many health complications an eating disorder causes, the disorder will reslut in death.
Therefore, if teenagers are aware of the warrning signs and risk factors they may relize that they or someone they know has an eating disorder. These diseases are harmful diseases that can casue the victems to struggle for the rest of their lives even after they do not practice the eating diaorder behaviors. Easting disorders are life alterling but have a number or warning signs.