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Adolescents and Eating Disorders - Research Paper Example

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As adolescents gaze upon these images, many of them feel that their own image falls far below what is expected of them from society and the media. In an attempt to make themselves similar to these images, numerous adolescents turn to eating disorders to obtain what they believe is the perfect body type. Eating disorders are “a group of serious conditions in which the individual is so preoccupied with food and weight that they can focus on little else (Walsh & Cameron 9).” The most common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge-eating. Though each eating disorder effects the way that a person controls their eating habits and maintains their ideal weight, they are marked with unique characteristics. Bulimia nervosa involves binging and purging, with the individual eating what they want, but then forcing themselves to purge so that they do not gain any weight. An individual suffering from anorexia nervosa either starves themselves, exercises excessively, or both to maintain a certain weight, which is often significantly less than what they should weigh. Binge-eating occurs when an individual frequently consumes great amounts of food. The person may be aware of what they are doing, and they may be attempting to stop, but they feel a compulsion to binge. Binging often goes hand-in-hand with bulimia. Regardless of which eating disorder an adolescent is diagnosed with, the cause of the disorder always varies. The primary causes of eating disorders are society and media, both of which favor thinness, wrongfully connecting success and happiness with being thin. Young girls are especially effected by this negative and distorted image of perfection, though young boys in recent years have also begun to be influenced by the idolized images. Similarly, eating disorders can be caused by psychological and emotional health, such as someone having a low self-esteem or negative self-image, which can stem from society and media. The individual may be impulsive or a perfectionist, which would cause them to make sure that their body is considered to be perfect. Also, many adolescents with eating disorders feel that they have no control over other aspects in their lives, like relationships or conflicts with family members, so they resort to eating disorders to give themselves some level of control over themselves (Teachman 82). Though research is still ongoing to determine the likelihood of biological factors increasing the risk of an adolescent developing an eating disorder, some researchers believe that there are genes that can make people more likely to develop an eating disorder. If an adolescent has a parent or a sibling who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder, that adolescent is more likely to also develop an eating disorder. It is because of this that some scientists are convinced that there is a genetic link between people likely to develop an eating disorder. Moreover, some evidence exists to suggest that serotonin, which is a normal brain chemical, has the ability to influence eating behaviors (Lask & Waugh 64), which can lead to the development of eating disorders. The symptoms for eating disorders vary between each disorder, though they do have some similar symptoms. The most common symptoms associated with eating disorders include the adolescent being obsessed with their weight, depression or other mood disorders, a preoccupation with food, and negative self-image. Symptoms associated with anorexia nervosa include denying hunger, excessive exercising, dizziness, abdominal pain, and menstrual irregularities or amenorrhea, which is a complete loss of menstruation. Symptoms linked to bulimia nervosa are excessive exercis ...Show more


Eating disorders,such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa,have been problematic in adolescents for many years.However,due to the rise of thin starlets gracing the covers of fashion magazines,the amount of adolescents suffering from these disorders has increased …
Author : shieldsjamison
Adolescents and Eating Disorders
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