Types of eating disorders peer reviewed essay

What is bulimia?

Bulimia falls under types of eating disorders where the victim experiences regular intervals of heavy eating or bingeing in which time the affected person is unable to control their eating (Fairburn, Christopher and Harrison, 407–416). The affected person can employ various avenues such as purging (laxatives) or vomiting as a way of avoiding weight gain. A good number of people suffering from Bulimia also suffer from anorexia. Anorexia, according to Treasure et al. (2015), happens to be a psychiatric disorder in which the affected person experiences serious weight loss and tertiary problems relating to malnutrition. Adolescence age is the most likely period people suffer from it.

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People suffering bulimia can also do excessive exercises to try and keep their weight in check. During the purging period the person suffering from Bulimia disorder can lose control of them and get involved in hysterical attempts aimed at undoing their feelings (Graves, Bonnie). Due to the fact that the affected person may have episodes of purging and bingeing in clandestine places they can conceal the disorder quite well for long durations of time. People suffering bulimia disorder develop these clandestine behaviors in their efforts to avoid excessive weight gain and gain back control of themselves. They also use the behavior to handle challenging situations or circumstances. Gerald Russell, a psychiatrist from Britain, described bulimia nervosa in 1979 as a Greek word which means ravenous hanger (Eating Disorder Hope, 1). People suffering from the disorder are advised to promptly seek professional help in order to overcome the disorder.

Bulimia exists in two common categories and they are the non-purging and the purging type. The purging type of bulimia nervosa is quite rampant among the people suffering the eating disorder. Individuals with purging bulimia will engage in acts of diuretics, enemas, laxatives abuse, and induced vomiting following a time spent in bingeing. The non-purging bulimia is another form of bulimia where the affected individual uses other methods that are inappropriate for the purpose of trying to compensate for the period they spend bingeing. Some of the behaviors include fasting or excessive exercise. The typical purging behaviors of vomiting will not be used often. Either way the person in question is still suffering from the eating disorder.

Bulimia and teenage

Given that bulimia nervosa is a serious psychiatric disorder, it affects many people including men and women across all ages, all races, backgrounds and genders. Teenage people are more susceptible to this eating disorder more so because eating disorders emanate during transition periods such as the puberty age (Parks, Peggy, 1). Coaches, teachers and family members may confuse the disorder with a craze from which the teenagers will get themselves out of within no time. In actual fact bulimia could cause detrimental emotional and physical distress and even lead to death.

Denial is one of the tactics family members use to avoid confronting the eating disorder among their teenage children (Eating Disorder Hope, 1). More often we are supportive and hopeful of the young ones that we avoid any quick judgments that they might be suffering from some disorder. It is quite possible to be inclined more towards denial of the warning signs that a teenage family member has an eating disorder. It is recommended that proactive measures aimed at discussing health concerns with adolescent children must be taken rather than hoping that the problem will silently solve itself.

There are various ways that someone can identify suffering from a teenager. Some of the symptoms and signs highlighted below can reveal instances of an eating disorder in teenage kids.

· Social withdrawal and isolation from friends and family

· Gastrointestinal distress including ingestion, constipation, bloating, diarrhea or nausea

· Physical complications complaints like fatigue, dizziness, sore throat, blurred vision, muscle weakness or muscle cramps or tremors

· Occasional disappearance after a meal or into the bathroom

· Fluctuating body weight due to the effects of bingeing and purging episodes

· Irregular menstruation or loss of it all together.

· Obsession with weight and body image

· Odor or smell of vomit on clothes or the body

· Dental complications, like bleeding gum, teeth erosion, or increased cavity

· Compulsive behavior patterns like excessive exercise, drug use, stealing, calorie counting etc.

It must be understood that body weight is not necessarily an eating disorder indicator. It definitely does not indicate bulimia (Parks, Peggy, 1). The signs highlighted can be indicative of some struggle with bulimia among teenagers. The signs must never be ignored. Teenagers suffering from bulimia may not show outward indicators because weight may not be a definitive indicator of any serious eating disorder problem. Teenagers can be overweight or even have normal weight but still be suffering from bulimia. The condition can encourage the teenagers to conceal their condition for many years. This goes to show that the condition is also psychological than it is physical (Parks, Peggy, 1). It is quite fundamental to pay attention to other signs which might offer some indication of a more serious but concealed problem.

Bulimia Cause and effect

The actual cause of this eating disorder has no known cause although it most likely is caused by a number of factors including environmental, genetic, cultural, and psychological influences. According to experts like Stewart, Gail (2014) bulimia is believed to come from specific genetic and environmental factors. On the genetic aspect researchers found that people from backgrounds where bulimia is common have a good chance of developing the same condition. Family history of anxiety and depression can increase the vulnerability of a person to suffering bulimia nervosa (Treasure, Janet, 1). On environmental factors research has found that the development of this condition is influenced by certain environmental factors. A good example would be sexual abuse victims can develop bulimic symptoms. Physical abuse victims have higher chances of developing the disorder as well. An environment where being slim have great value is a factor that can lead to this disorder as well.

The risk factors associated with bulimia include:

· Being female: Women have higher chances of developing the eating disorder

· Being a physical or sexual abuse victim

· Being in an environment where physical thinness is valued

· Family with a history of bulimia or other mental conditions in the family

· Conditions of mental health relating to a person

Statistical information reveals that there are more women who suffer from bulimia than there are men. The condition is also common among young women and teenage girls. The victim is often aware of the abnormal eating patterns. The victim may also have the feeling of guilt as a result of their purging and/or bingeing episodes (Parks, Peggy, 1). As earlier stated there is no clear knowledge about the definitive cause of bulimia although a number of factors may be the reason.

People suffering from bulimia can eat an excess of 2,000 calories of food in the space of one sitting and thereafter induce vomiting. Vomiting is not the only purging method used. A combination of methods can be used for purging as a vomiting alternative. The people who binge often but have no purging behavior will be diagnosed with the bingeing disorder.

A person with bulimia nervosa can show several symptoms and signs. Most of the signs are directly attributable to vomit inducement or other purging methods more so when the cycle of purging and/or bingeing is frequented during the day or week. Bulimia eating disorder symptoms and signs include:

· Fluctuations in body weight

· Broken eye blood vessels

· Imbalances in electrolytes. This may cause cardiac arrhythmia, untimely death, or cardiac arrest

· Enlarged jaw line glands and neck glands

· Chronic dehydration

· Infertility

· Peptic ulcers or continuous gastric reflux experienced after eating

· Oral trauma like scratches in throat or mouth lining due to repeated vomiting

Purging and binge eating symptoms and signs include candescent eating, disappearance of food, lost control while eating, fluctuation between fasting and overeating episodes, vomit smell, unusual use of bathroom after taking a meal etc. Problematic strains can be experienced between bulimia nervosa victim and their family especially when the victim has unusual behavior such as evading social activities for the purpose of engaging in purging or bingeing behavior.

Treatment of bulimia

Since low self-esteem and an adverse body image are the factors underlying bulimia, it is fundamental to have therapy treatment for recovery (Stewart, Gail, 2014). The treatment process can entail the following; discontinuation of the cycle of purging and/or bingeing, improvement from negative thoughts, and solving emotional issues (Eating Disorder Hope, 1). For the discontinuation of the cycle of purging and/or bingeing the initial treatment phase for bulimia entails breaking away from the hazardous behavior and reestablishing normal and regular eating behavior. he phase for improving thoughts entails identification and changing of the unreasonable beliefs concerning dieting, weight and body shape (Eating Disorder Hope, 1). On solving emotional issues the focus is on healing oneself from emotions that led to bulimia in the first place. The treatment can entail addressing interpersonal relationships. The process can also entail therapy of cognitive behavior and therapy of dialectic behavior. Victims of bulimia are advised not to hide their condition for too long because it can result to detrimental medical complications.

Works Cited

“Eating Disorder Hope.” Bulimia Nervosa: Causes, Symptoms, Signs & Treatment Help. 2018. < https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/bulimia>, Accessed, 29. Sep. 2018

“Eating Disorder Hope.” Bulimia and Teenagers: Risks, Dangers, and Complications. 2018. < https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/bulimia/bulimia-and-teenagers-risks- dangers-and-complications> Accessed, 29. Sep. 2018

Fairburn, Christopher G, and Paul J Harrison. “Eating Disorders.” The Lancet 361.9355 (2003): 407–416. The Lancet. Web.

Graves, Bonnie B. Bulimia. Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2000. Print.

Parks, Peggy J. Teenage Eating Disorders. , 2012. Internet resource.

Stewart, Gail B. Bulimia. Place of publication not identified: Cherry Lake Publishing, 2014. Internet resource.

Treasure, Janet et al. “Anorexia Nervosa.” Nature Reviews Disease Primers 26 Nov. 2015. Nature Reviews Disease Primers. Web.

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