attractive and the media reinforces this statement." Young adolescent girls buy into this sensation and through doing so, set themselves up for failure. When these predisposing factors are combined with stressors and pressures, the cycle is begun and an eating disorder is formed.
The altered eating and exercise patterns of those with eating disorders can seriously damage physical and emotional health. The ANAB (n.d.) contends activities associated with eating disorders place one in medical danger. Strenuous over-exercising is often seen in those with eating disorders even though they may be quite ill. The body of an eating disorder sufferer frequently has electrolyte imbalances and gastrointestinal problems. The vomiting seen in bulimics is a key contributor to these problems. With vomiting, key electrolytes are lost which can lead to fatigue, muscle spasms, and irregular heartbeats (ANAB (n.d.)). Repeated vomiting also leads to erosion of the lining of the esophagus and internal bleeding. The Missouri Department of Mental Health (n.d.) states, "Severe fasting - as in anorexia - starves the body of needed nutrition, leading to shrinkage of vital organs, irregular heart rhythm or heart failure, and infertility. Some of these effects, if not detected in time, can be permanent or fatal." Those with eating disorders also suffer many emotional problems. "Personality changes, often observed along with physical changes, may include angry outbursts, isolative behavior, and depression" (Michel & Willard 2003, p.6). Anxiety disorders are very common in sufferers of eating disorders. Eating disorders perpetuate psychogical problems. When these problems are combined with physical ones, eating disorders continue in a vicious, sometimes deadly, cycle. The ANAB (n.d.) states the mortality rate for eating disorders ranges from five to twenty percent.
People suffering from eating disorders cannot solely help themselves. Although they may be able to stop for a short time, in the long run they will be back in the same path of self-destruction. Kirkpatrick & Caldwell (2001) state, "Because eating disorders are a complicated mix of physical and psychological abnormalities, successful treatment always includes treatment of psychological issues as well as restoration of a healthy diet" (p. 131). Trained therapists should treat eating disorders. The severity of the disorders will determine the need for outpatient therapy or an in-hospital program (Matthews, 2001, p. 178). There are many goals of therapy but the return to normalcy is the main goal. The eating disorder sufferer needs to restore and...