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Example Case Study on Eating Disorders

Case Study on Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are increasing every year, and can be found in girls from as young as 6 or 7, as well as adult women. It does not help when celebrities flaunt their trimmed and toned bodies all over television and newspapers, receiving so much praise for looking “good”.

Teenagers are the most likely group to develop eating disorders: many of them look up to celebrities and believe they too have to look good to get somewhere in life.

The last thing we need is celebrities promoting radical diets and get-thin-quick secrets, as these could be damaging our health. In most of these diets, the calorie intake that is being recommended is so low, that it would be almost impossible to survive on it. Moreover, the majority of these diet plans cut out main food groups.

People following celebrity diets run the risk of developing eating disorders, such as, anorexia and bulimia.

Anorexia nervosa is an illness which makes the sufferer afraid of gaining weight. Anorexics may set a target weight to reach, but it does not stop there. No matter how thin the sufferers are, they always see themselves as fat and have to keep losing more and more pounds. Anorexics may try to avoid eating food by getting rid of it or hiding it so they are not tempted to eat it. The sufferer may also take laxatives or slimming pills to further weight loss. Anorexia can change the sufferers’ behaviour: they become moody and irritable, cry a lot, weigh themselves constantly and become obsessed with other people’s eating habits. If anorexics cut out dairy products such as milk and cheese, it can result in osteoporosis, which makes the bones in the body become fragile and brittle in old age. Anaemia can be a huge problem for anorexics if they do not get enough iron from meat, spinach or eggs, causing tiredness and heavy periods. However, anorexia can also make periods stop, and cause thinning of hair, yellowing skin and cardiac abnormalities.

Bulimia nervosa is similar to anorexia nervosa: again, sufferers are obsessed with their weight and their food. However, bulimics binge-eat, unlike anorexics who simply do not eat. Bulimics do not simply binge eat, though, they purge, that is to make themselves sick to avoid gaining weight. Bulimics have very little self-control during a binge, eating excessive amounts of food very impulsively. They also use laxatives to help them get rid of all the food inside of them. Bulimics have a tendency to hide or steal extreme amounts of food, eat in secret so no-one is aware of the disorder, and weigh themselves too often. Bulimia is most common in women, or even men, in their twenties. It can cause guilt over what they are doing, which in turn results in being unhappy, leading to comfort eating, and so the cycle goes on. Bulimics usually suffer from anaemia, ulcers and menstrual irregularities. Bulimia also causes erosion of tooth enamel and tearing of the oesophagus, due to constant vomiting.

These eating disorders affect over 60,000 people in the United Kingdom. One in a hundred young women has anorexia, two or three in a hundred suffer from bulimia. Adolescent boys and young men may be affected, though more rarely.

Many people find it difficult to understand why anyone would want to starve themselves or make themselves sick, but there are several theories which try to explain these illnesses.

Many people with eating disorders have a fear of lack of control over their lives or environments. Anorexics report that their restricted eating is their personal way of sustaining control. Also, negative sexual experiences, such as childhood sexual abuse, can cause a person not to eat or purposefully vomit. In many cases, the eating disorders has developed from depression or from alcohol or drug abuse problems.

There is a biological explanation which suggests that genetics may influence a person to develop an eating disorder. When an eating disorder develops, there can be several biological changes. anorexics undergo chemical changes which dull their lives. However, bulimics may seek these changes to mask feelings of anxiety or depression.

The social theory is the one I would blame for causing many eating disorders. The thinness of people in our society is becoming more important everyday, because of what is being seen on television, in magazines and n newspapers. Seeing “perfect size 10” celebrities everywhere influence women that to gain achievement, intelligence, popularity and success it is necessary to be thin. This leads to a constant struggle for the perfect body. It is in some ways easier for celebrities to diet: they can afford to visit dieticians, who monitor their progress. They can employ chefs to help create perfectly balanced meals. We, however, have to use complicated diet manuals which make it difficult to know what is good for us.

While I agree that not all eating disorders are provoked by celebrities, I do strongly believe that the majority of eating disorders are provoked by celebrities promoting their diet secrets, secrets that are actually dangerous for long-term good health. People should not believe they have to be thin to be noticed.

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