Anorexia and bulimia are two of the most common eating disorders that are plaguing the youths today. Because of incorrect notions about beauty and popularity, teens push themselves to gain acceptance into cliques that they think are the most popular, most beautiful, and most talented, among others. Thus, teens resort to all kinds of methods just to keep themselves "in" with the crowd, even if it means hurting themselves physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Defining Anorexia and Bulimia
Anorexia is "characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss" ("Anorexia Nervosa", n.d.). Despite one being underweight, an individual has distorted images of oneself thinking that he or she is overweight or even adding a few pounds. As a result, an anorexic deprives oneself of food in fear of gaining weight and exercise excessively. Sometimes, they indulge in diet pills to help them lose even more weight.
On the other hand, bulimia is the reverse of anorexia. Bulimics binge on food. They eat everything they want to eat, but are then attacked by sudden guilt feelings related to overeating. Thus, sufferers do everything to prevent gaining weight (Bulimia, 2012). After consuming food, they find ways to expel the food they just had through vomiting, diuretic abuse, or taking laxatives.
These two eating disorders are brought about by the sufferers' fear of becoming obese, thus, they are often driven by thoughts about food, appearance, and weight. They also struggle with feelings of anxiety, depression, and constant need for attention. In addition, they also feel a strong lack of control in handling food. Both disorders are also considered a mental disorder.
Differences between Anorexia and Bulimia
People suffering from anorexia typically worry about how other people perceive them, while bulimics are more concerned about pleasing others. They are generally more sexually active than anorexics and are more prone to having intimate relationships. Bulimics are also tend to change friends and relationships more often than anorexics because of boredom and moodiness (Bulimia, 2012). On the other hand, anorexics tend to be loners and would rather cut ties with people close to them.
Physically, anorexics are thinner than bulimics because they deprive themselves of food whereas; bulimics tend to be rounder or bigger in appearance because despite efforts to use laxatives or vomit their food, bulimics still tend to binge on food. Another common attribute of bulimics is decayed teeth and tooth loss due to the breakdown of tooth enamel from constant exposure to stomach acids after vomiting (Bulimia, 2012), which anorexics don not suffer from.
Both anorexia and bulimia are chronic illnesses of the mind and physical body due to individuals' need to look good by not gaining weight. As anorexics and bulimics continue to starve themselves or binge on food, they remain with low self-esteem and poor self-image. Thus, educating teens about the disorders and the corresponding psychological and emotional problems the disorders bring will help sufferers and their families cope with the diseases.
Anorexia nervosa. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/nedaDir/files/documents/handouts/Anorexia.pdf
Bulimia. 2012 February 13. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001381/