Anorexia and bulimia are two eating disorders that affect many individuals each year and the percentages keep going up. Generally, anorexia and bulimia affect women; however men are at risk as well. The reason anorexia and bulimia are both increasing in the number of people they affect each year is because more individuals are concerned with their weight and being thin and the psychological affect of the desire to be thin or to control ones emotions or diet affects individuals in one of two ways, anorexia or bulimia.
Anorexia occurs when individuals have a perception that they are fat whether they are or not, when they have a need to control their surroundings because everything else in their life is out of control, and a variety of other conflicts whether they be internal or external. Anorexics control their surroundings, or what they eat, or do not eat because it allows them to feel as if they have power over something. Anorexics, and almost all individuals with an eating disorder, are plagued with low self esteem issues and the low self esteem plays a huge factor in the initiation and maintenance of an eating disorder. Additionally, anorexia is a negative way of dealing with stress, unhappiness, anxiety, and other fears an individual might have.
Many times anorexics control their eating in order to control their emotions. As a result, they control the amount of food they eat because if they didn’t they might lose control not only of food consumption, but their emotions as well. Frequently, anorexics believe they do not deserve to be happy or deserve to engage in any activity that might make them happy. Since eating can frequently be a source of pleasure many anorexics believe they do not deserve this pleasure.
Symptoms of anorexia are calorie and fat gram counting to an excessive degree, exercising multiple times per day, having a negative self image regardless of small size, starvation, hiding food, denying hunger, and many others. If you have these symptoms or know someone that does then get help or try to help the individual with these symptoms.
Bulimia is another eating disorder, however while anorexia is restricting food bulimia is binging on food and then purging. Of course, many anorexics experience bouts of bulimia; however the two eating disorders are very separate in the way individuals handle their food intake. However, the cause of both of eating disorders are generally very similar and frequently result from emotional, physical or sexual abuse although many sufferers have never experienced abuse.
Typically, individuals suffering from bulimia have low self esteem and are unable to handle their emotions so they engage in periods of binging and purging to help them deal with emotions. Frequently, individuals feel guilty for certain events in their life, or simply because they have a low perception of themselves, and so they seek punishment in the form of binging and purging. Bulimics eat a large amount of food in a very short period of time and then either vomit to eliminate the food or take laxatives to do so. Many bulimics release their anger, stress, and frustrations through their binging and purging.
Warning signs of bulimia include individuals who eat a large amount of food in a short period of time and then feel guilty and vomit or use laxatives as a result of this guilt, people who misuse diet pills and laxatives, individuals who are overly concerned with self image and are always on a diet or exercise program, as well as individuals who feel they have no control over what they eat might have bulimia.
Bulimics are different from anorexics because they generally have fluctuations in their weight, store food for a later binge, and the entire cycle of binging and purging is what makes an individual suffer from bulimia. Additionally, bulimics may “purge” the day after a binge not by vomiting or using laxatives but also by excessive exercise, not eating, and other methods.
Bulimia and anorexia are both types of eating disorders that frequently affect women and occasionally men and are direct results of low self esteem and self image. Individuals suffering from these eating disorders need a strong support network and professional help, not individuals trying to reason or shove food down their throats. Eating disorder sufferers have emotional and even psychological issues affecting their eating disorder and as a result professional help is necessary. If you are suffering from an eating disorder or know someone who is do not feel ashamed to seek help or to seek help for a friend or family member. Eating disorders can be deadly if they are not treated, so take eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia seriously if it is affecting you or an acquaintance.