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Eating Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment

There is a significant number of severe diseases that are recognized and respected by all people. It is hard to disagree that no one will claim that, for example, pneumonia, herpes, and asthma are not illnesses but just a way to get attention. However, some diseases are still believed to be unserious conditions that appear because a person plays computer games too often or goes outside too rarely. Such diseases include various eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and some other types. The purpose of this paper is to describe eating disorders and prove that they are severe diseases that require acute treatment.

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Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a severe eating disorder that is characterized by a distorted perception of weight and a strong fear of gaining it. According to medics, “people with anorexia have abnormally low body weight and always control it and their shape” (“Anorexia nervosa,” 2018, para. 1). To achieve that, they use extreme efforts by exercising excessively, severely restricting the amount of food they eat, vomiting after meals, or misusing enemas, diuretics, diet aids, or laxatives. The most dangerous fact is that no matter how much weight a person loses, he or she continues to fear gaining it (“Anorexia nervosa,” 2018). For people who suffer from this eating disorder, it is a life-threatening and unhealthy way of coping with emotional issues and low self-esteem.

Risk Factors and Contributing Causes

Anorexia used to be more common in women and girls, but recently men and boys have significantly developed eating disorders. It is more dangerous for and frequently diagnosed among teenagers due to their emotional instability and all the puberty changes they have to go through (“Anorexia nervosa,” 2018). Moreover, many teenagers are too sensitive to casual comments about body shape or weight, criticism, and increased peer pressure. In addition, such factors as genetics, dieting, starvation, and any transitions may increase the risk of anorexia.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is another type of eating disorder that is rather severe and potentially life-threatening. It is common for people with bulimia to lose control over eating and secretly devour large amounts of food. Then, in order to get rid of the extra calories, just like those diagnosed with anorexia, they may use excessive exercise, strict dieting, fasting, or regularly self-induce misuse laxatives or vomiting, diuretics, and weight-loss supplements (“Bulimia nervosa,” 2018). People who suffer from bulimia tend to judge themselves harshly for some self-perceived flaws and are passionate about controlling their weight and body shape.

Risk Factors and Contributing Causes

Again, women and girls are more likely to suffer from bulimia, which usually begins in early adulthood or late teens. Moreover, some factors that can increase one’s risk of bulimia include biology, psychological and emotional issues, and dieting (“Bulimia nervosa,” 2018). For instance, being overweight as a child or teen, as well as having emotional and psychological problems like substance use or anxiety disorders and depression, may increase the risk of the development of bulimia nervosa.

Consequences of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are extremely severe conditions associated with constant eating behaviors that may have a negative effect on a person’s emotions, physical and phycological health, and the ability to function in crucial events and areas of life. Researchers note that “anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder are the most common eating disorders” (“Eating disorders: Symptoms & causes,” 2018). They may cause severe and even life-threatening complications such as social and relationship problems, suicidal behavior or thoughts, depression and anxiety, and serious health problems.

Eating Disorders Diagnosis

It is possible to diagnose eating disorders based on eating habits, symptoms, and signs through an exam and tests performed by a doctor. Such tests and assessments are typically divided into several types (“Eating disorders: Diagnosis & treatment,” 2018). First, a medical worker may perform a physical exam in order to find some other medical causes for a person’s eating issues and order laboratory tests. Second, a mental health professional or a doctor can insist on psychological evaluation and ask about the patient’s eating habits, feelings, and thoughts.

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Treatment and Support Options

There is a number of various ways of an eating disorder’s treatment, but all of them typically include a team approach. This team usually consists of dietitians, mental health professionals, and primary care providers (“Eating disorders: Diagnosis & treatment,” 2018). In general, treatment depends on the specific kind of eating disorder, but some common parts of it are medication, psychotherapy, and nutrition education. However, if a person’s condition is too serious, and his or her life is at risk, doctors may require immediate hospitalization.

For a person whose condition is not too dangerous, the members of the team may design a special diet so that he or she achieves healthy eating habits. Talk therapy or psychotherapy includes family-based therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications (“Eating disorders: Diagnosis & treatment,” 2018). In general, these types aim at helping the patient learn “how to replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones” (“Eating disorders: Diagnosis & treatment,” 2018, para. 8). In FBT, the family is involved in controlling whether the person with an eating disorder maintains a healthy weight and follows healthy-eating patterns. In CBT, a patient learns how to develop problem-solving skills and improve and monitor his or her moods and eating habits.


To draw a conclusion, one may say that eating orders are indeed severe conditions that may appear due to critics or some mental problems. People who are diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia, and other types of eating disorders require extreme help. They need support from friends and family, special treatment, and respect from other persons. In the modern world, it is of vital importance to recognize and address contemporary issues.


Anorexia nervosa. (2018). Mayo Clinic. Web.

Bulimia nervosa. (2018). Mayo Clinic. Web.

Eating disorders: Diagnosis & treatment. (2018). Mayo Clinic. Web.

Eating disorders: Symptoms & causes. (2018). Mayo Clinic. Web.

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