Eating Disorders in Teens


Now and days in the world of advertisement and fame, physical appearence is all that matters. Models who are already in perfect shape are photoshopped to look even better, actors and actresses either have to loose weight or gain weight for their parts in the script, and people are discriminated for not having the so called "perfect body". The media and the people who are the ones criticizing , do not notice , and probably do not even care, but they are influencing many teens to undergo eating disorders.

Historical Background :

Hysteria from the Greek hysterikos ("of the womb") iwas an obscure disorder that Victorian doctors noticed in women in the late 1800's . It was thought to be a disfunction caused by the womens uterus. Symptoms were physicalby they were also linked to psychological factors and emotional distress. Soon after the turn of the century the cases of histeria were less seen as social transformations were established. Yet, in the second half of the twentieth century a serious and more serious type of "anxiety" burst into public view: eating disorders.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by the refusal to maintain a body weight at the minimum normal weight for a person’s age and height coupled with an intense fear of weight gain and distorted body image (Vogler 1993). The symptoms typically include significant weight loss, intense fear of weight gain, preoccupation with low-fat and low-calorie foods, specific eating rituals and habits, excessive exercise, and social and emotional withdrawal. Anorexia nervosa (also known as the “rich girl’s syndrome”) is present in certain members of all populations around the world and existed throughout history even before the intense media focus on thinness says (Gordon 2000) in the website Random History.

Bulimia nervosa entered the English language in 1977. It is a disorder characterized by the rapid consumption of food followed by attempts to purge the body of the food via vomiting, laxatives, or excessive exercise. Bulimia is known by multiple names, such as bulimarexia, binge-purge syndrome, dietary chaos syndrome, and bulimia nervosa...perhaps representing lingering uncertainty about its essence and relationship to anorexia (Gordon 2000). However, it increased in the late 1970s and 1980s and can often be found in the advanced stages of anorexia nervosa.


While bulimia nervosa appears to be of relatively recent origin, binge eating has been known for centuries. Binge eating disorder is characterized as binge eating without vomiting and is found commonly among obese patients. Yet it was not until the early 1990s that binge eating was recognized as distinct from bulimia nervosa. The reason for this probably has to do with the reluctance to associate obesity, per se, with an eating disorder (Gordon 2000). While evidence accumulated during the 1970s and 1980s suggested that many of the obese eat normally, by the early 1990s it had become clear that a certain subgroup of obese individuals (as well as a smaller group of individuals of normal weight) have patterns of episodic binge eating very similar to those found in bulimia nervosa. The fact that these individuals did not make the drastic efforts to compensate for their caloric intake that are seen among bulimics seem to warrant designating binge eating disorder as a distinct syndrome. While people with BED are preoccupied with their weight, they do not appear to overvalue thinness in the ways characteristic of bulimia nervosa patients. Yet, like bulimic and anorexia patients, BED patients similarly hold distorted attitudes about eating food and body image, and also often suffer from depression. Both obesity and eating disorder experts provide therapies that help both the psychological and physical points of the disorder.

Analysis :

Marjorie Ramos, a Bellaire High Schoolsophmore, began looking for weight tips online;she was 13 years of age. She felt the pressure to look good or feel good about herself since summer was coming up , and we all know thats bikini season . She encountered some pro-eating disorder websites online , and frequently logged on to them .
"I would have pictures I would print out from the Web sites that I would pin to my mirror," she said. "I would spend, like, hours going through the list of stuff and figuring out how many calories you could burn." says Marjorie Ramos,

Diets like those started in the mid 1990's as pages dedicated to "promoting" the anorexic or bulimic lifestyle.
In recent years, users began moving to more mainstream social networking sites including Xanga and LiveJournal, setting up individual blogs detailing their diets, which are collected into "blogrings" — links that connect a circle of blogs with a common theme — or with mantras including "hunger hurts, but starvin works." Many are young, some are 12 and 13 years old, and the vast majority are female.
There they post their daily calorie intake, tracking each Pringle, say, or glass of water consumed. At Xanga, one girl wrote of eating just a green apple in a day, and she counted every slice.
On their personal pages, they post "thinspiration" pictures: photos of ultra-thin models and celebrities with jutting hip and collar bones, skeletal legs.
They proffer their own weight-loss tips and ask for others.
Researchers have begun taking note. In December, a study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that those with eating disorders who visited pro-anorexic or bulimic Web pages struggled with the disease for a longer period of time.
Nearly all also said they learned new dieting techniques at the sites, according to Stanford researchers who conducted the study.
Fassihi said this kind of research helps professionals and parents better help those with the disease.
Nearly half of her clients log onto the sites, she said. They go there not just for diet tips but for a sense of community, however skewed it may be.

Conclusion :

Treatment for anorexia has traditionally focused on individual rehabilitation of the patient, often in a residential treatment center away from the family. Indeed, for decades, leading treatment centers have recommended "parent-ectomy" — removing the influence of a dysfunctional family, who were often blamed for exacerbating the patient's eating disorder — as part of treatment. But a new study suggests that tactic is misguided.

Eating Disoders are now very common in teens because of all the celebrity shows ,and advertisements caused by the media. Also, because the world is now filled with criticism , and if one does not fit in into the world of having the perfect body you are departed from this world.

Works Cited :

Sarah Viren."New mantra for eating disorders: Log in, get thin".Houston Chronicle 2007

Maia Szalavitz "Parents Allowed: Family-Focused Therapy Works Better for Teens with Eating Disorders".Times Magazine
October 5, 2010