Eating disorders are a disease that affects both men and women. While the prevalence is higher among women, these diseases still occur in men. Eating disorders in women can be attributed to our civilization depicting women in media, on television, and in printed advertisements as having to be thin. The female models and actresses draw the attention of men and create a society where men desire all women to look the same. However, being underweight is just as unhealthy as being overweight.
There are different types of eating disorders. Most people are aware of anorexia and bulimia since these have been in mainstream media quite often. Anorexia is where a person is obsessed with losing weight, even after they are at a healthy weight level. These people feel they are fat and can need to keep dieting in order to become thinner. People afflicted with anorexia will oftentimes skip meals and only eat a few bites when they do eat. Even when they feel hungry they will refuse to eat out of fear of gaining weight. Common signs that a person might be anorexic could include looking pale, tired and emaciated.
Bulimia on the other hand is an eating disorder where the individual will eat food. However, they also feel that they are overweight and need to lose weight. A person afflicted with bulimia follows a course of reoccurring binge eating. This is where the person will consume large amounts of various foods, both healthy and unhealthy in a short amount of time. After which, they feel guilty for eating so much food that they need to purge it from the body quickly in order to prevent gaining weight. They accomplish this by self-induced vomiting and taking an excessive amount of laxatives. Bulimics can also be overly obsessed with exercising for longer periods of time and more frequently than the normal person. The self-induced vomiting can cause serious damage to the esophageal tract because of the stomach acids. The use of laxatives is not healthy for the digestive tract and can cause gastrointestinal problems.
People afflicted with eating disorders should be referred to proper health care providers to help them overcome their illness.