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Eating Disorders

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“Look how beautiful and thin she is!” wrote (Zodda, 2004) This is a phrase people hear almost every day in the fashion business, read about it in Internet or magazines and adolescents are the group who is most affected by it. Adolescents have fallen victims of watching how pretty and skinny the fashion models are. They want to be and look like them: they are worried all the time about their weight and body shape. This obsession has led many teen girls to develop eating disorders. Golden (2003) stated that eating disorders are complex illnesses that are affecting teenagers and young adults with increasing rate. People with eating disorders, struggle with accepting and feeling good about themselves. They feel insecure about their body and tend to think they are fat and ugly, even though this may not be true.

There are different types of eating disorders but the most common types are anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Anorexia is associated with the restriction of food in order to lose weight and people who suffer from anorexia are usually underweight. On the other hand, bulimia happens when people eat large amounts of food in a short period and then regret doing so. Even though there are different explanations, there are five, major aspects, which are thought to be the cause why adolescents develop eating disorders. According to Dombeck (2007) family, personality, genetic, biological and media are the potential causes of these eating disorders.

        Two of the factors that lead people to develop eating disorders are genetic and biological in nature. Research provide convincing evidence that having blood relatives with an eating disorder may cause the individual to experience this kind of disorder, so it can run in families. Rochester Institute of Technology (2004) from recent research suggested that genetic and biological characteristics have an influence of nearly 56% for the individual to have an eating disorder problem. Studies have exhibited that identical twins have a more noteworthy co-event of anorexia and bulimia than fraternal twins. Identical twins are more hereditarily comparable than congenial twins. Other findings suggest that for the individuals with eating disorder some brain chemicals are unbalanced. University of Pittsburgh (2003) found out that the hypothalamus of a person that suffers from bulimia might not precipitate a normal satiation reaction. What this means is that even after they have eaten, they still feel hungry. They also realized that people with bulimia had low serotonin level and on the other hand, people with anorexia had abnormal state of neurotransmitters in a few regions of the brain.

        Another factor that affects eating disorders is personality. Personality may play a role at why some individuals are more predisposed to develop eating disorders than others. Identity characteristics, for example, neuroticism, perfectionism, and obsessiveness assume a considerable part in encouraging some eating disorders, especially anorexia and bulimia. Reiss (2007) noted that people with these personality traits are more likely to be anxious, discouraged, perfectionistic and self-basic; all elements that make them having trouble to control their weight and what they eat. They have a tendency to think about their appearance and achievements against a standard that is not true. The vast majority of these judgments include socially inferred guidelines instead of individual desires. At the end of the day, individuals with dietary problems are essentially worried about what others think of them, instead of what they consider themselves. Because of their inability to compromise, anorexic people are not able to recognize that their practices are very rigid and that there are alternative approaches to help them lose weight. Different psychologists found out that people with eating disorders have a deficit of some abilities like identity, discipline toward one self, attention etc. and the eating disorders manners are regularly utilized as substitutes for these abilities (Zodda, 2004).

        In addition, family is an important factor in creating eating disorders at individuals. Specialists have discovered that, sometimes, families are over-included and enmeshed with a person who has a dietary issue. “Enmeshed” according to Merriam-Webster (2011) is a psychological term describing a symbiotic and overly intimate relationship in which the emotional and psychological boundaries between two people are so obscure or unclear that it is difficult for them to function as separate individuals with their own identities. Adolescents in an enmeshed relationship may feel so vulnerable to create a different personality from an over-included parent that they attempt to express freedom by controlling what happens to their bodies. Another research shows that families of individuals who have eating disorders usually are overprotective, strict and want their child to be a perfectionist in everything and to succeed everywhere (Dombeck & Reiss, 2007). If the children think they are disappointing their family or failing they might have an excessive restriction of the food in order to loose weight very fast. One more case might be when pathology inside the family might play a part to have eating disorders. Individuals, when they come from families with problems where they might have experienced physical or sexual abuse, trauma, use of alcohol and drugs etc. These all influence that, children later develop an eating disorder problem (Reiss, 2007).



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