PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF OBESITY: ANOREXIA and BULIMIA

One of the most painful aspects of obesity may be the emotional suffering it causes. Our society places great emphasis on physical appearance, often equating attractiveness with slimness, especially in women. Such messages make overweight people feel unattractive. Many people assume that obese people are gluttonous, lazy or both. Obese people often face prejudice or discrimination at work, at school while looking for a job, and in social situations. Feelings of rejection, fail or depression are common. They generally have low self-esteem and face eating disorders.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is an illness that usually occurs in teenage girls, but it also can occur in teenage boys, and adult women and men. People with anorexia are obsessed with being thin. They lose lot of weight and are terrified of gaining weight. They believe they are fat even though they are very thin. Anorexia is not just a problem with food or weight. It is an attempt to use food and weight to deal with emotional problems.

Problems caused by Anorexia

Girls with anorexia usually stop having menstrual periods. People with anorexia have dry skin and thinner hair on the head. They may have a growth of fine hair all over their body. They may feel cold all the time, and they may get sick often. People with anorexia are often in a bad mood. They have a hard time concentrating and are always thinking about food. It is not true that anorexics are never hungry. Actually they are always hungry. It makes them feel like they are good at something – they are good at losing weight. People with severe anorexia may be at risk of death from starvation.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia also called bulimia nervosa is a psychological eating disorder. Bulimia is characterized by repeated bouts of overeating followed by inappropriate methods of weight control (purging). Inappropriate methods of weight control including vomiting, fasting, enemas, excessive use of laxatives and diuretics, or impulsive exercising. Excessive weight and shape concerns are also characteristics of bulimia. Sufferers consume huge quantities of food sometime up to 20000 calories at a time. The foods which they eat are generally sweet foods, high in calories or smooth, soft foods like ice cream cake and pastries. It is not a response to an intense hunger. It is usually response to depression stress or self esteem issues. The cycle of overeating and purging usually becomes an obsession and is repeated often.

Medical complications of Bulimia Nervosa

• Erosion of tooth enamel because of repeated exposure to acidic gastric contents.
• Dental cavities, sensitivity to hot or cold food.
• Swelling and soreness in the salivary glands.
• Stomach ulcers
• Ruptures of the stomach and oesophagus.
• Abnormal buildup of fluid in the intestines.
• Disruption in the normal bowel release function.
• Electrolyte imbalance.
• Dehydration
• Irregular heartbeat and in severe cases heart attack.
• A greater risk of suicidal behavior.