By Corwin Brown
Eating disorders afflict millions of people, thousands of which will die from them yearly. There is good news though, eating disorders can be beaten. You do not have to be a prisoner to this anymore. You have the power within yourself to beat this and you will. Recovery takes a lot of time and hard work, but in the end it is all worth it. You will finally be free and you will love yourself. When recovery happens you will be able to look in the mirror and say, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest one of all" and it will be you :)
A person with an eating disorder may have started out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food than usual, but at some point, the urge to eat less or more spirals out of control. Eating disorders are very complex, and despite scientific research to understand them, the biological, behavioral and social underpinnings of these illnesses remain elusive.
Up to 10 million teens develop eating disorders, abnormal attitudes and behaviors with foods, which include anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. For most kids, eating disorders begin when they are 11 to 13 years old. While they are more common among girls, boys can experience eating disorders too. Unfortunately, many kids and teens successfully hide these disorders from their families for months or years.
Women are more likely than men to have eating disorders. They usually start in the teenage years and often occur along with depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse.
Some research suggests that media images contribute to the rise in the incidence of eating disorders. Most women in advertising, movies, TV, and sports programs are very thin, and this may lead girls to think that the ideal of beauty is thinness. Boys, too, may try to emulate a media ideal by drastically restricting their eating and compulsively exercising.
Eating disorders frequently appear during adolescence or young adulthood, but some reports indicate that they can develop during childhood or later in adulthood. Women and girls are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. Men and boys account for an estimated 5 to 15 percent of patients with anorexia or bulimia and an estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders are real, treatable medical illnesses with complex underlying psychological and biological causes.
Eating disorders are more common in cultures focused on weight loss and body image. Body dissatisfaction and dieting may lead to unhealthy and dangerous eating behaviors. Sometimes, these eating patterns can lead to eating disorders. Fortunately, there has been an increased awareness about these types of illnesses. Eating disorders are treatable.
Anorexia can slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, increasing the chance of heart failure. Those who use drugs to stimulate vomiting, bowel movements, or urination are also at high risk for heart failure. Starvation can also lead to heart failure, as well as damage the brain. Anorexia may also cause hair and nails to grow brittle. Skin may dry out, become yellow, and develop a covering of soft hair called lanugo. Mild anemia, swollen joints, reduced muscle mass, and light-headedness also commonly occur as a consequence of this eating disorder. Severe cases of anorexia can lead to brittle bones that break easily as a result of calcium loss.
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