Introduction to Eating Disorders

Introduction to Eating Disorders

  • Disorders & Issues
  • Eating Disorders

Introduction To Eating Disorders

Michael W. Adamowicz, LICSW

We live in an image conscious culture, which urges all of us (especially women) to improve our appearance. The messages sent by magazines, t.v., and other media include “buy certain clothes and products; straighten and whiten your teeth; get rid of your wrinkles; and most commonly, LOSE WEIGHT and you will be happy, admired, and loved.” The recent and recurrent debate concerning the unhealthy, stick thin models used in the fashion industry is a perfect example of how strongly entrenched our notion of “thinness equals happiness” has become.

Although many of us would benefit from eating a bit less and exercising more in order improve our health and fitness, simply watching what you eat is NOT an eating disorder. Eating Disorders are potentially life-threatening illnesses which are simultaneously psychological and physical in nature. They are characterized by a range of abnormal and harmful eating behaviors which are accompanied and motivated by unhealthy beliefs, perceptions and expectations concerning eating, weight, and body shape. As a general characterization, individuals with eating disorders tend to have difficulty accepting and feeling good about themselves. They tend to think of themselves as “fat” and “ugly” because of their body size and shape, even when this self-judgment is objectively inaccurate and false. Identifying and defining themselves according to their perceived “fatness”, eating disordered people tend to conclude that they are unacceptable and undesirable, and as a result, feel quite insecure and inadequate, especially about their bodies. For them, controlling their eating behaviors is the logical pathway in their quest for thinness.

The current article is designed to provide you with more information about the nature of eating disorders, their causes, potential treatments, and strategies for prevention. This information can be helpful in determining whether you or someone you love has an eating disorder. Before we begin, though, we want to stress two important points:

First, if you (or someone you love) have an eating disorder, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Between 5 and 10 million Americans have anorexia or bulimia and another 25 million suffer with binge eating disorder. Hopefully, knowing that other people have experienced what you are going through, and have gotten better with treatment, will provide you with some sense of hope.

Second, don’t rely on your “willpower” to get over this condition. As mentioned previously, an eating disorder is a serious, potentially life-threatening disease. Between 6% and 20% of eating disordered individuals will literally die as a result of their disease. Seek PROFESSIONAL help for yourself or someone you love as soon as possible if you suspect there is a problem.

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Eating Disorders Resources
Basic Information

  • What Are Eating Disorders?

    • Overview

    • Definition

    • Prevalence, Onset And Development

    • Historical Understanding

  • Eating Disorder Causes And Maintaining Factors

    • Biological Factors Part I

    • Biology Part II

    • Personality Traits And Skill Deficits

    • Family Influences

    • Cultural Factors

    • Maintenance

    • Additional Factors

    • External Pressures

  • Characteristis Of Eating Disorders

    • Anorexia Nervosa

    • Special Characteristics

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    • Co-morbid Conditions

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    • Nutritional Rehabilitation

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    • Inpatient And Residential

    • Group Therapy

    • Family Interventions

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More Information

  • Anorexia Nervosa

  • Facts About Eating Disorders

  • Enjoying Food

  • Introduction

  • Marital Bliss & The Waist Line

  • Memorial Weekend & Body Image

  • Symptoms Of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Recognizing Body Dysmorphic Disorder

  • Bulimia Nervosa Symptoms

  • Medication & Psychotherapy For Anorexia

  • Treating Bulimia

Questions & Answers

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  • Do I Have An Eating Disorder?

  • When Psychotherapy Does Not Help

  • Teenaged Girl At Risk For Eating Disorders Writes, "i Want To Be Confidant With My Body"

  • Do I Have An Eating Disorder?

  • I Am Afraid To See A Doctor About My Problem Because Of My Future Profession!

  • I Am Bulimic For More Than 10 Years, And It Is Killing Me…

  • I Don’t Like To Eat.

  • Help?

  • Where Do I Start To Get On The Road To Recovery

  • How Can I Change My Life?

  • Is This A Eating Disorder ?

  • How Can I Get My Former Eating Habit Back

  • Is This An Eating Disorder

  • Is This An Eating Disorder?

  • Am I A Bulimic Or Not?

  • I Sometimes Cut

  • I Wanna Be Thin!

  • Bulimic

  • Odd Eating Disorder

  • Elder Anorexia

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Blog Entries

  • Dying To Be Thin: 7 Shocking Facts About Teen Laxative Abuse

  • Post-Natal Depression And Eating Disorders

  • Pumping Iron And Crushing Eating Disorders

  • How To Talk To Someone With Disordered Eating Habits

  • Food Addiction: Is It Real?

  • OCD Versus Eating Disorders

  • March Against Eating Disorders To Take Place On September 30th

  • Orthorexia Nervosa On The Rise In The Quest To Eat Healthy

  • Anorexia Nervosa And Fasting

  • Men With Eating Disorders

  • Obesity, An Addiction?

  • What Not To Tell A Loved One Who Has An Eating Disorder

  • Anorexia And Internet Dangers

  • Orthorexia, Another Kind Of Eating Disorder

  • Why Support Is Important For Dealing With Food, Weight + Body Image Issues

  • Men And Eating Disorders

  • Eating Disorders And Health Insurance

  • "Toddlers And Tiaras" Beauty Pageants: Are They Good For Our Children?

  • “Struggling With An Eating Disorder” – Jocelyn’s Story

  • Anorexia Impacts The Whole Family

  • The Eating Disorder Called Obesity

  • A Look At Faith And Spirituality In Mental Health: An Interview With Jena Morrow

  • Anorexia, Bulimia And Older Women

  • It’s About Relationships, Not Food!

  • A Major Crisis, Eating Disorders And Children

  • Someday Melissa: A Mother’s Loss, A Daughter’s Story

  • Personality Disorders And Eating Disorders, Treatment: The Sooner The Better

  • Personality Disorders And Eating Disorders

  • Do You Engage In Emotional Eating?

  • Kristie Alley And The Problem Of Obesity And Dieting

  • Vegetarian Diets May Harbor Eating Disordered Youngsters:

  • Women And Disordered Eating Behaviors: A Media Problem?

  • Suggestions, Binge Eating Disorder

  • Am I Influenced By People? Let Me Count The Ways

  • Women, College And Weight Issues

  • Boys And Eating Disorders

  • Gaining Control So As Not To Gain Weight

  • The Sexualization Of Girls And The Development Of Emotional Problems

  • Eating Disorders And Family Boundaries

  • Binge Eating Is The Most Common Eating Disorder

  • Eating Disorders Articles Have Been Updated

  • Binge Eating Disorder

  • Understanding Anorexia Nervosa

  • Eating Disorders, Self Mutilation And Unexpressed Emotions: A Deadly Relationship

  • Bulimia Nervosa And Impulsiveness

  • Bulimia Nervosa

  • Heavier Bulemics Have An Easier Time Staying In Therapy.

Latest News

  • ADHD Drug Might Help Treat Binge-Eating Disorder, Study Suggests

  • For Anorexic Men, the Focus Is on Muscle

  • Health Tip: Eating Disorder Can Hurt Your Child

  • Eating Disorders May Start in Elementary School

  • Study: Family-Based Therapy Can Aid Those With Anorexia

  • Even Normal-Weight Teens Can Have Dangerous Eating Disorders, Study Finds

  • Pride Over Weight Loss May Help Drive Anorexia

  • Health Tip: Am I A Binge Eater?

  • Teens’ Indoor Tanning May Be Linked to Unhealthy Dieting

  • Men With Eating Disorders Often Ignore Symptoms

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Topics in Paper
  • National Association Of Anorexia Nervosa
  • Eating Disorders
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  • Cold
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    Anorexia nervosa

    4 Pages
    903 Words

                 Anorexia Nervosa is one of the most commonly known and yet least recognized eating disorders. Anorexia is a mental illness, which affects both boys and girls within normal weight ranges who think they are overweight. The early stages of Anorexia are often difficult to detect. A person should know what to look for as far as early symptoms and know what steps to take to help, but the most important thing would be to try to figure out what underlying problems could be responsible for the condition.
    Anorexia begins with feelings of self-confidence and higher self esteem as the result of a more “attractive” appearance making the person feel as if they are more capable of handling social interaction (Anorexia, Dying to Be Thin p.1-13). As the anorexia progresses, his/her preoccupation with staying thin, which he or she believes gave his/her feelings of success, caused his/her to concentrate even more on his/her weight (Anorexia, Dying to Be Thin p.1-13). Eventually, the anorexic’s body will start to deteriorate, his/her self-esteem will diminish, and he or she will begin to remove themselves from social interaction (Anorexia, Dying to Be Thin p.1-13). Communication with his/her family or friends will also be reduced or strained (Anorexia, Dying to Be Thin p.1-13).
    In the beginning stages a person could notice that the anorexic is exercising excessively or prone to hyperactivity. (Anorexia, Dying to Be Thin p.1-13). The anorexic will display unusual eating behaviors, and constantly express the fear of gaining weight, even though they do not. Anorexics are often high achievers. He or she will be one of the teacher’s favorites, because they never cause any trouble and think their best is never good enough (Anorexia, Dying to Be Thin p.1-13). Additionally, they never talk back to their parents, and never fuss (Anorexia, Dying to Be Thin p.1-13). If the anorexic fails, she fears that people won’t have anything to do with her. Anorexics se…

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    Anorexia nervosa. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:58, November 08, 2018, from
    MegaEssays. “Anorexia nervosa.”, (December 31, 1969). Web. 08 Nov. 2018.
    MegaEssays, “Anorexia nervosa.,”, (accessed November 08, 2018)

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