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Treating Eating Disorders Essay

Treating Eating Disorders Essay

Treating Eating Disorders Essay

When people hear the word eating disorder they tend to think of a young middle class white girl. It’s quite rare to hear about older men and women struggling with eating disorders even though it’s fairly common. Unfortunately, eating disorders do not discriminate against race, age, gender, class, or sexual orientation. The only thing that differs is their overall experience and how health professionals chose to treat them. There are three major eating disorders that some people suffer with on a daily basis. Treating Eating Disorders Essay

The first is anorexia nervosa which is a potential life threatening disorder that affects about 1.1 million women and 340,000 men over the age of eighteen. It is characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight, self starvation, and…show more content…
Now the most common eating disorder in the United States is binge eating disorder (BED). This disorder slightly differs from bulimia. It’s where people binge but without the purging behavior afterwards. A binge can be triggered by stress, dieting, anger, or sadness. Typically, many people binge on junk food such as ice cream and candy. After eating these foods, people often feel a sense of guilt and shame about themselves. It’s because they tend to eat when they are not hungry or are extremely full. In that time food gives them a sense of comfort and eases all the stress. This can lead many adults on the road to heart disease and high cholesterol. Social pressures, biological abnormalities, and depression are heavily linked with binge eating disorder. Generally eating disorders have been defined by women so many times men don’t receive adequate care or go without seeking help. They sometimes even face more stigmatization. Approximately 3.2 million men have suffered from one of the three disorders in their life time. But what’s interesting is that the frequent behaviors such as self induced vomiting, and laxative abuses were found lower in men but the frequency of non-purging behaviors like excessive exercise and supplement use was higher. Men report less drive for thinness which is most likely because their greater concern for muscularity. Some men may compensate by decreasing body fat,Treating Eating Disorders Essay


Growing up in society with media, such as radio, television, movies, and the Internet,
men and women have been presented with ideas of how a person should appear. In a perfect
world, which the media has falsely created for us, women should be big breasted and slender,
wearing a size four, and men should be tall, dark, handsome, and muscular. Unfortunately, in
some cases, the desires to achieve these “accepted” stereotypes are taken to extremes, causing
major eating disorders. One such eating disorder is anorexia nervosa. It “ranks as the third most
common chronic illness among adolescent females in the United States” (Matthews 3), and,
according to People magazine, “up to 10 percent of anorexia patients die” (“Dying” 65).
Anorexia is defined as “a psychological illness characterized by marked weight loss, an
intense fear of gaining weight even though the patient is underweight, a distorted body image,
and amenorrhea” (Matthews 45). Men and women often look at their own bodies critically and
think of themselves as being overweight. Trying to compensate for what they think of as fat, they
lose large amounts of weight at one time. Also, they may attempt to create perfection in
themselves by having what they think of as perfect bodies (Kinoy and Holman 3). The solution
to an eating disorder, such as anorexia, is not, as many people think, just to eat more (VarnadoSullivan C111). Anorexia is not only a psychological illness, but it also is associated with “actual
behavioral, physical, and emotional symptoms” (Kinoy and Holman 3). Thus, unfortunately for
those with this disorder, more care is needed than to “just eat” (Varnado-Sullivan C111).Treating Eating Disorders Essay
The typical anorexic is said to be “an adolescent female who is a high achiever. She
usually has successful parents and feels compelled to excel” (Mathews 46). But not all anorexic
cases occur in females. Male anorexia makes up “a fascinating, sometimes neglected area of
clinical and research interest” (Kinoy and Holman 2l), since males also seem to have an
“overestimation” of what their body type should look like (“Body Image” 7). According to the
Eating Disorders Sourcebook, “approximately 5 to 10 percent of patients with anorexia nervosa
are men” (Matthews 46). As with females, most male cases of anorexia are treatable, if there is
proper diagnosis, treatment, and patient cooperation (Anderson 27).Treating Eating Disorders Essay
To begin treatment for an eating disorder, one must first be diagnosed. According to
Adrian Thurstin, an expert in the field, initially, the behavior of a person with anorexia may be
like that “of a normal dieter” (15), but, as time goes on, many behavioral, physical, and
psychological differences begin to occur. A person may eat small amounts of food and then
complain of being full. He often finds reasons to eat alone, and eventually ends up withdrawing
himself from all social activity. He also may feel the need to exercise compulsively, even when
large amounts of calories and fats have not been consumed. A significant amount of weight is
dropped in a short period of time. Hair begins to thin, nails become brittle, and skin becomes
discolored. The body is not able to keep itself warm because of lack of fat and muscle on the
bones. Eventually, this leads to the shutdown of all major bodily functions. A person
experiencing anorexia, nevertheless, often is in denial of his or her situation (Thurstin 15-17).
In the Eating Disorders Sourcebook, Dawn Matthews states there are four traits that
allow anorexia to be diagnosed clinically, which are as follows: the inability to maintain a
constant body weight, the fear of gaining weight, the denial of the dangers of the extreme weight
loss, and amenorrhea, which is the missing of the menstrual cycle for three consecutive months
(47). Anorexia then is broken up into two subtypes: restricting type and purging type. Restricting
implies that a person is not participating in binge eating, whereas purging is just the opposite: a
person binge eats and then self-induces vomiting (Varnado-Sullivan el17). Once a person has
been clinically diagnosed with anorexia, measures can be taken to begin the road back to health.
Unfortunately, maintaining a healthy weight has not only become a problem for “normal”
people, but also for celebrities. For example, the front cover of the October 9, 2006, edition of
People magazine featured pictures of Keira Knightley, Nicole Richie, and Kate Bosworth, all
looking extremely unhealthy and underweight. Actress Debra Messing explains, “There’s
pressure to stay thin for every actress and unfortunately every American woman” (Tauber 60).

The media has done a great job of convincing the population that being a normal size is not good
enough. According to Michelle Tauber in People magazine, “Drastic thinness has become the
reigning beauty ideal from runways to the red carpet-and it’s having an alarming effect on girls
everywhere” (58).Treating Eating Disorders Essay
People across the world have been deceived into thinking only the skinniest models will
be featured on the front covers of the most popular magazines and will land the leading roles in
box office hits. In fact, according to several eating disorder specialists, “experimental studies
generally indicate short-term negative effects on body image of exposure to idealized media
images” (Wertheim, Paxton, and Blaney 469). This helps to prove certain media images do
negatively affect the way a person perceives his or herself, whether short or long term. If media
was filtered and stopped presenting thin as the only way to be, fewer teens would be influenced
by what they see on television and in magazine and hopefully would realize body image is not
the most important thing in life. Women and men would not feel like they were unattractive
because they did not look like the ninety-nine pound model or the body builder with five percent
body fat, but would feel good about themselves, knowing they are a healthy, average-size
weight. However, media filtration is not a job to be done by the government, but rather by those
producing media. These producers of magazines, television shows, and movies must recognize
the influence they have, be aware of the negative images they are presenting, and self-regulate.
Additionally, Americans need to be more aware of the warning signs of an eating
disorder, whether it is anorexia, bulimia, or obesity. Because patients with eating disorders often
deny the fact that anything is wrong (Matthews 49), family members, friends, loved ones, and
the general public need to have knowledge of these disorders, in order to prevent them in
themselves and to help others. According to an interview with Dr. Dinah Roy, “Every area
should have an eating disorders coordinator to provide information to schools, practices and
other organizations” (43). These areas could be divided by schools districts, each having its own
coordinator. Also, local health units and mental health clinics could incorporate their services to
help the school systems spread eating disorder awareness and assist in treating these disorders.
The districts could be funded by both the state and federal government, with the goal of
spreading information on eating disorders. A speaker on the subject of eating disorders then
could be brought into the school system, just as speakers are used to talk about such things as
drugs and alcohol, sexually transmitted diseases, and body development. In order to better relate
to students, this speaker could be an individual recovering from an eating disorder. This would
enable the students to hear true life stories from an individual who has experienced the heartache
of an eating disorder. In addition, a medical professional on the subject of eating disorders could
be available to discuss not only how an eating disorder can emotionally affect an individual, but
also how dangerous it is to the human body. Since most young minds are shaped by what they
learn at an early age, if this program was established, anorexia awareness would increase and
would, most likely, cause the number of cases to decrease.
Once a person has been diagnosed with anorexia, group therapy is a solution that has
proven “effective in behavioral disorders such as eating disorders” (Guarda and Heinberg 309).Treating Eating Disorders Essay
Group therapy is described as a time “when persons meet in a warm, supportive, and confidential
setting to discuss their common concerns and learn to deal with their problems through mutual
sharing, support, and feedback from other group members” (Lemberg 99). According to
Controlling Eating Disorders with Facts, Advice, and Resources, there are a number of things
group therapy helps a person with an eating disorder realize and accomplish. These include:
learning the anorexic is not alone in his or her struggle, encouraging him to open up in a “safe”
environment, teaching him about his disorder and how to make changes to improve his health,
and providing hope through other’s inspirational stories (Lemberg 99-100).
Additionally, there are many types of group therapies available to fit the needs of the
specific individual; a person might be in a closed group, meeting with the same people each
session, or in an open group, experiencing new people each meeting (Lemberg 100). There are
also structured and unstructured groups, as well as homogeneous and heterogeneous groups
(Lemberg 100). With group therapy, patients may take part in group discussions, focusing on
meal planning, self-esteem, and nutrition (Guarda and Heinberg 310). All of these things tie
together to help pinpoint exactly what areas an individual may need to focus on, as well as the
best ways to help him conquer his fear of weight gain and begin a road back to healthy living.
Media has one of the biggest effects on teens and their body image. Filtering it would
solve many problems, but it would be virtually impossible to do. Producers, writers, and
photographers do not seem to care whether or not they are lowering the self-esteem of young
men and women by making them seem inadequate in comparison to celebrities. Instead, these
producers focus on how much money is in their pocket. As long as money is being made, the
media will always be there promoting young, muscular men and tall, thin women, and therefore,
media will never be filtered. Instead of trying to reach large populations at once, focus should be
placed on a smaller concentration of young individuals. Bringing a speaker into schools to tell
young people of the dangers of an eating disorder would be a more effective way of reaching
boys and girls.Treating Eating Disorders Essay
Although group therapy is a great way to deal with anorexia after a person has been
diagnosed, by the time a person has reached this stage, he has already struggled emotionally and
physically with a life-threatening disease. Therefore, it should be a goal to reach individuals
before they are required to begin actual treatment. By educating school-aged children, this goal
could easily be achieved.
Anorexia, as with most diseases, can possibly take a person’s life without proper care, and
it is beginning to affect an increasing number of the population each year. There are many
measures which can be implemented to prevent the occurrence of such, but little is being done. A
stand needs to be taken to prevent future generations from encountering anorexia—a disease so
preventable, yet so dangerous.Treating Eating Disorders Essay

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are eating disorders that severely affect both men and women around the world. The cause of the eating disorder usually derives from psychological, biological and social forces. Eating disorders have become an epidemic in American society, twenty-four million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.\, 2011). There are many ways to address and treat an eating disorder. There have been multiple studies conducted to test the effectiveness of different types of treatment. My central research question analyzes the relationship between the continuation of the eating disorder with the presence of intervention or some form of therapy. The use of therapy will take place as the dependent variable due to its relationship toward the termination of the eating disorder. There are social processes involved in the ceasing of an eating disorder or alleviating the symptoms of the disorder as shown through group therapy (Mclorb and Taub, 1987). I will review different sociological literature that approaches the relation between the continuations of eating disorders with the presence of treatment.Treating Eating Disorders Essay

In the observational case study by Mclorb and Taub, (1987), they interviewed participants of a group therapy session involving a group of fifteen young women battling a range of eating disorders. The therapy sessions were modeled after alcoholics anonymous meetings. The subjects would meet weekly in search of support, this was a form of therapy that allowed the subjects to involve or remove themselves at any point in time. The main purpose was to seek a sense of support from people dealing with the same issue.

Eating disorders are potentially life threatening, resulting in death for as many as 10 percent of those who develop them. They can also cause considerable psychological distress and major physical complications. Important relationships are eroded as the eating disorder takes up time and energy, brings about self-absorption, and impairs self-esteem. Treatment should be initiated as quickly as possible, focus upon the immediate distress experienced by the individual, and aim to help the patient and family become powerful enough to overcome the eating disorder.Treating Eating Disorders Essay

This essay will provide an overview of Compulsive Overeating Disorder as well as Binge eating. The essay will define the two disorders as well as provide examples to support the research and findings. This essay will outline current approaches for treating Compulsive Overeating and Binge Eating disorder as well as the theoretical basis for the approaches. Details on how counselor’s can work individually with each client to provide assistance to clients with eating disorders. Information on the different Theoretical Basis of counseling best for treating the disorder as well as recent findings on that particular theory will be stated as well as what the research findings says regarding the different approaches to treating Compulsive Overeating and Binge Eating Disorders.Treating Eating Disorders Essay
Compulsive Overeating Disorder
Binge eating as well as compulsive overeating is a mental illness. Compulsive Overeating disorder is described as the consumption of mass quantities of food. Purging of the food consumed usually follows that episode. Clients who are diagnosed with Compulsive Overeating and Binge Eating Disorder have a negative relationship with food. Clients generally obsess over food and eat throughout the day even if hunger is not present. The disorder involves episodes of uncontrollable binge eating, and then eliminating the food through vomiting or use of laxatives. The episodes occur within short periods of time. The time frame for binge eating is one to three times a week and several times a month. Compulsive Eating can last throughout the day and is generally encouraged by an uncontrollable urge to eat. Compulsive eating is triggered by different emotions such as depression, loneliness, sadness, anger and or anxiety. The bingeing episodes can last up to two hours and or throughout the day. This disorder is a food addiction however it is treatable. People with addictive personalities are vulnerable to this disorder. It is very common for the Binge overeating and Compulsive Eating episodes to be followed by self-induced vomiting, excessive exercising, and or fasting for the next couple of days and or hours. The individual usually feels ashamed, disgusted, and worthless for lacking the ability to demonstrate self-control. Uncontrollable episodes of eating mass amounts of high caloric foods with little to no nutritional value are characterized as Compulsive Overeating Disordered. Individuals who suffer from this disorder are more often than not embarrassed, and ashamed of poor eating habits, and or physical appearance, and often eats in secret and consumes normal amounts of food when in public places. The typical client diagnosed with this disorder is generally overweight or obese, with many health issues as well as mental issues. There are few Compulsive Overeaters who have managed to maintain a normal weight while feeding the food addiction. Treating Eating Disorders Essay