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Eating Disorder

Essay by   •  December 11, 2010  •  1,101 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,212 Views

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Bulimia is marked by significant cycles in eating habits. Bulimics will often starve themselves (calorie/food/fat intake restriction -- sometimes with the help of diet pills or supplements) for extended periods of time prior to a massive binge, during which they consume abnormal amounts of food in a short period of time. These binges are followed by purging, which generally is constituted by self-induced vomiting. Other methods of purging the body include the use of diuretics, laxatives, and excessive exercising. Bulimics are generally within what is considered to be a "normal" weight range, but see themselves as being overly fat, or suffer from an intense fear of gaining weight. They often do realize that they have a problem, but by that point the cycle has become an obsession. Bulimics usually weigh themselves frequently, even several times daily. Bulimics also suffer from an emotional cycle of guilt, paion, depression, and "highs." They feel pride when they succeed in starving themselves; guilt, pain, and depression when they eat; and the "high" usually follows a purge. The cycle becomes an emotional outlet. Bulimics are often perfectionists, those who feel they have severe standards to live up to. Those who feel that they cannot control their lives may turn to eating disorders as a means to feel in control of some aspect of themselves. They tend to have an intense fear of becoming a failure, and letting others down. Many doctors and members of society feel that society, with its media-fed images of beauty and perfection, is responsible for the disease. Food becomes a night-and-day obsession, causing them to withdraw from their families, as well as school and social lives. Bulimics will often refuse to eat in front of other people, and will find any sort of excuse to avoid meals in groups. They may sneak food for bingeing when no one else is around. Bulimics may sometimes run to the bathroom following any form of food intake. The disease is habit-forming.

Bulimia is a disease that affects the entire body, as well. The first marks are often seen on the fingers and hands of the diseased individual. They will usually have small cuts, calluses, or blisters where the teeth rub against the skin while inducing vomiting. The face will generally get swollen, particularly around the jawline and where the glands in the neck begin. Capillaries in the cheek soften rupture due to frequent vomiting. Ulcers form in the esophagus and stomach, which can eventually lead to a complete rupture of the organ. The perpetual contact with stomach acid can lead to esophageal cancer. Often, in the rush to remove the food from their bodies, bulimics will scratch and tear the back of the throat, causing minor or major bleeding. The exposure to stomach acids causes a decalcification of the teeth, which will eventually (if continued) lead to the receding

of the gumline and the actual falling out of teeth. Bulimics also tend to lose the use of their gag reflexes after a certain point, but will usually have developed reflex vomiting by that point in the course of the disease. Female bulimics can develop amennorhea, the loss of the menstrual cycle, which can lead to forms of ovarian and uterine cancer, as well as infertility. The body often does not receive enough nutrients and electrolyte imbalances occur and disrupt the bodily functions on an ionic level. After a few months of the continual cycle, the individual's hair and skin will become dry, and the hair may start to fall out. Their nails will become brittle and break easily. They suffer from nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and often have more injuries than a non-bulimic individual (such as stress fractures). The stress of the forcing of food out from the stomach puts strain on the individual's heart, and can cause palpitations and even cardiac arrest. Their bones eventually weaken, and they are at risk of an early onset of osteoporosis. The bulimic's kidneys eventually shut down because

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