Bulimia Nervosa Essay Research Paper A variation

Bulimia Nervosa Essay, Research Paper

A variation of Anorexia, Bulimia ranges from

excessive food intake, to an out of control

compulsive cycle of binge eating where

extraordinary amounts of any available food,

usually of high carbohydrate content, may be

consumed. Once having gorged, the victims are

overcome with the urge to rd themselves of what

they hate eaten by purging themselves, usually by

vomiting, and sometimes by massive doses of

laxatives. Between these obsessive bouts, most

are able to accept some nutrition. Whereas the

anorexic sufferer fears fatness from anticipated

loss of eating control, and unlike the anorexic

sufferer the typical bulimic individual is not

emaciated, but usually maintains a normal body

weight and appears to be fit and healthy.

However, the obsessive binge purge cycle causes

them deep distress, shame, guilt, self-loathing and

social isolation, and many will go to any lengths to

hide their ?shameful? secret from the family and

friends. Typical Sufferers The anorexic or bulimic

may be either sex, but the smaller percentage is in

males. However the male percentage is on the

increase. Most sufferers come from middle and

upper income families, and are usually highly

intelligent. Anorexic and bulimic people are often

perfectionists, with unrealistically high

expectations. They frequently lack self-esteem,

with their feelings of ineffectiveness and a strong

need for other peoples? approval. Causes There is

at present no generally accepted view of the

causes of anorexia or bulimia. Most authorities

believe the problem to be psychologically based,

possibly stemming from family and social

pressures, or other forms of stress in our modern

environment. Where a high value is placed on

slim-ness, women are most likely to be judged on

their appearance, against a heavy background of

high carbohydrate junk food promotion. Often, the

illness is triggered by a major change in the

person?s life. Age and Extent Anorexia tends to

start in early the early teens, whereas bulimia

usually occurs in the late teens and older age

groups. Sometimes bulimia develops out of

anorexia, but can occur without a previous history

of anorexia. It often persists over many years. It is

known girls as young as 8 years of age had

displayed an unhealthy pre-occupation with

dieting. The full extent of the problem is not

known, but estimates very from one in every

hundred school girls with anorexia, to six percent

of Australian women with bulimia. Since bulimia is

not a physically obvious condition, the numbers

could be far higher. Social Isolation People who

have anorexia or bulimia have probably been

feeling isolated and friendless for a long time. This

may have been one of the factors contributing to

their belief that they are essentially unacceptable

people. However, the condition itself increases

social isolation. Sufferers dare not let people get

too close to them in case their real self, which they

dislike, is discovered. They cannot tolerate any

disruption of their rigid daily routine, which often

includes long periods of physical exercise designed

to keep weight down, fixed eating times, and

carefully hidden arrangements for bingeing and

purging. Shared meals and social occasions are

shunned for fear of exposing the problem. For the

same reason, sufferers will often reject offers of

help. All this leads to increased social isolation.

Money Problems The self-starvation/bingeing

pattern of eating can be paralleled by attitudes to

money and things that money can buy. Some

sufferers become extremely thrifty, only buying

what can be justified as an absolute necessity.

Some, just as with overeating, may overspend,

and get into debt. Some will, after long periods of

self-denial, possibly start pilfering from family and

friends, or perhaps become involved in shoplifting.

Psychological Effects In addition to isolation, the

victims suffer from self-disgust, guilt and shame,

fear of change, and feelings of inadequacy and

rejection. They are lonely, desperate and

depressed, and may consider suicide as the only

way to end the nightmare. Physical Effects

Anorexia and bulimia are serious disorders, which

in extreme cases can result in death. Among

known adverse physical effects are: ? Loss of

menstruation ? Breathing discomfort ?

Constipation ? Loss of sex-drive ? Low blood

sugar ? Receding gums and rotting teeth ?

Dizziness ? Lack of protein leading to edema, loss

of hair and teeth, and growth of downy hair on

face and elsewhere ? Intestinal infection ?

Hypoglycemia ? Ruptured stomach and esophagus

? Chronic sinusitis ? Kidney damage ? Severe

dehydration ? Bleeding and infection of the throat

? Gastritis ? Ulcers ? Abnormal metabolism ?

Vaginal nerve block ? Rupturing of internal

membranes ? Bowel tumors ? Mega colon ?

Severe electrolyte imbalance which can lead to

neuromuscular problems, including muscle spasms

and cardiac arrest ? Ruptured facial blood vessels

Treatments Contact casualty at major public

hospitals in emergencies. Sufferers of both

anorexia and bulimia need to realize that they have

a serious problem, and require encouragement to

take personal responsibility in seeking help. They

must learn to accept their strengths, weaknesses,

successes, and failures, as part of a balance

leading to a normal happy existence. By clinging to

their self-destructive behavior, sufferers are

rejecting normal participation in life, but can be

helped to realize the rewards that a fuller

commitment can bring. If the person with anorexia

has reached a dangerously low body weight, this

physical problem must also be overcome to help

achieve normal body function and logical thought.

In extreme cases of anorexia this may require

hospitalization to enable nutrition to be monitored.

Various forms of treatment are available such as

psychotherapy, counseling, self help groups,

medical and non-medical practices. Treatment

often needs to be prolonged and although

occasional regressions may occur, the patient

needs to accept these positively as part of the

process of change for the better, rather than to see

them as reasons for continued self-hatred and

punishment. The effort to recover is rewarded by

the relief that the recovery brings, both to the

sufferers and their families and friends. Support

Services ? Personal counseling by experienced

therapists covering: educational, motivational and

dietary aspects of individual situations ? Referral to

professional treatment agencies ? Telephone help

and support lines ? Provision of educational

speakers at health seminars, schools and groups

etc. ? Workshops providing training and

information ? Provision of information kits for

sufferers, care takers and students Meetings

Meetings are informal gatherings for sufferers,

families and friends, in a safe place for people to

be heard and feel understood. A place where they

can be offered practical help and encouragement

as they move along the road to recovery.

Participants have the right and freedom to join in

only as much as they wish, and to move along at a

pace with which they feel comfortable.