Bulemia Essay Research Paper Not All Black

Bulemia Essay, Research Paper

Not All Black And White

Christmas is a time of joy, but the Christmas of 1988 was one of

revelation for me. My best friend of 15 years unveiled her deepest,

darkest, most private secret; she was bulimic. I was unfamiliar with the

disorder at the time, but when she told me of her 7 year struggle with

anorexia and bulimia, I had to know more, to understand the what, why,

and how. The first article I found on eating disorders was in a glossy

covered periodical, Parents’ Magazine. It briefly outlined the mechanics of

both eating disorders, and stated that the majority of anorectics and a large

percentage of bulimics develop the disorders because of sexual repression

in childhood. Dissatisfied with the magazines explanation, I decided to

investigate the topic further. I went to Palmer College of Chiropractic’s

library hoping to consume as much information as possible to prove

Parents’ Magazine wrong. I found several medical journals, psychiatric

journals, and books on the topic of eating disorders that could affirm my


As I tried to rationalize my friend’s behavior, I decided that social

acceptability had to have played a large part in her illness. I also took into

account that her mother had passed away about 7 years before she broke

her news to me, and she had also given up her crown as Miss Iowa, so

depression could have been a factor as well. Another aspect of eating

disorders that I discovered is a lack of self-esteem, something I never


The first source I found to dispute the sexual repression hypothesis

was in Psychology Today. Dr. Sarah Leibowitz theorized that sexual

maturity is a consequence of the disorder, not the raison d’etre. She

contends that a lack of self-esteem is a major cause of eating disorders in

teenage girls and young women according to the studies she has

participated in.

Depression and stress also play a major role in the development of

eating disorders, not just anorexia and bulimia, but obesity as well. Major

life events can be attributed to both depression and stress, leaving the

patient feeling lack of control in their life. The anorectic and bulimic turn

to starvation and weight loss as a way of taking charge of one aspect of

their life. Studies show that 32% of young women between 16 and 30

years of age who suffer from anorexia or bulimia experienced a severe

bout of depression or had a major life crisis just prior to the onset of her

eating disorder. Unfortunately, this feeling of control is a false one, since

the illness is actually more powerful.

The most common aim of the anorectic and bulimic is to achieve

social acceptance. Anorectics and bulimics are looking for approval from

friends, family, and they use their appearance as a means of that approval.

The national chapter of Anorexia and Related Eating Disorders reports

that an estimated minimum of 20% of American women between the ages

of 16 and 30 can be diagnosed with an eating disorder of one type or

another. They believe that this is due to the fact that, in the past 10 years,

there has been a steady increase in diet-related articles and advertisements

in women’s magazines. Although a small percentage of American men

also suffer from eating disorders, articles and advertisements that promote

weight control are 10 times more prevalent in publications targeted toward

women than in similar ones targeted toward men. The same is true in

television and other types of media.

Overall, I believe that sexual repression has little, if anything, to do

with eating disorders, and have not found any tangible or reputable

evidence to dispute this viewpoint. In my vast search for knowledge, I

uncovered several facts to collaborate with my dissatisfaction of the

explanation that Parents’ Magazine had to offer. I discovered that anorexia

and bulimia often are the result of severe stress or depression, lack of self-

esteem, and, foremost, an need for social acceptance.


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