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Eating Disorders - Essay Example

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This essay presents several factors which have an effect on eating disorders. Culture has an influence on such behavior. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are primarily psychiatric disorders and have an effect on the eating habit. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self starvation…
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Eating Disorders
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1. Discuss two key differences between anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are primarily psychiatric disorders and have an effect on the eating habit. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self starvation where the patient starves and does not maintain normal body weight. On the other hand bulimia patients, like patients of anorexia have a desire to avoid body weight gain but end up binge eating and then either starving or purging in order to rectify the overeating phase. Anorexia patients tend to lose more body weight (about 10%) whereas bulimia patients have a normal body weight. The other main difference is that anorexia patients try and control weight by ceasing food consumption while bulimia patients tend to purge, use laxatives or other methods to get it out of the system.
2. Name one cultural, one genetic and one environmental influence on eating disorders.
Several factors have an effect on eating disorders. Culture has an influence on such behavior. For example, in the Western culture where a thin body is idolized, people tend to get easily influenced.
Twin studies and familial studies have established that eating disorders do have a genetic predisposition as well. When it comes to environmental factors behavior of family and friends may also have an impact on a person. For example a mother may be too concerned about her daughter’s weight which gradually causes a problem in the young girl’s mind as well and may take a form of an eating disorder.
3. What are some personality characteristics of people with eating disorders? Name at least 3, and explain what you mean.
People suffering from eating disorder display certain characteristics such as
perfectionism, distorted body image and obsession. A person develops this image of a “perfect” body which is sought by many. The patient refuses to accept any other form of perfection. The patient also develops a distorted image of his own body and finds magnified flaws even if the flaws are not that big. The next trait that a person displays is obsession with acquiring a perfect body is the primary driving force behind all the actions such as starvation, purging, over-exercising just to attain a thin body.
4. How are eating disorders treated? Name two approaches with a brief explanation for each about why researchers believe they work.
Eating disorders are multifaceted and hence both psychological and pharmacological treatments are prescribed. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which seeks to modify the behavior of the patient towards his actions is one of the primary psychotherapy techniques used for diagnosis. Researchers believe that CBT is useful since it helps to rectify and improve the patients distorted thoughts and maladaptive behaviors.
Interpersonal Therapy is another form of therapy that seeks to solve deep rooted problems such as self confidence problems, unresolved grief etc. Researchers are of the opinion that coping with underlying mental or emotional issues would help treat the eating disorder problem as well.
5. What are some ethical issues in the treatment of eating disorders? Name at least two.
When it comes to treating eating disorders there emerges few ethical challenges. Confidentiality is one of most basic where all information of the patient and his state needs to be kept secret by the counselor. However, in some cases counselors do go out of their way to help the patient by involving friends, peers r family which breaches this confidentiality term.
Informed consent is another issue where it is necessary for the counselor to explain the problem, cause, treatment, side affects etc to the patient. In some cases especially when the patient is a teen the counselor does not seek the consent of the patient and deems I enough to rely on the parents for this. However, this should not be the case since it is the duty of the counselor to personally seek informed consent from the patient irrespective of age. Read More
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