Anorexia And Obesity Essay Example


When one thinks about an anorexic person and another one that is obese, the first thing that would come to mind is the drastic difference between their sizes. Most assume that because anorexia nervosa and obesity cause people to look as if they are on the opposite ends of a spectrum, they have nothing in common. However, sufferers from anorexia and obesity have unhealthy relationships with food, develop mental health disorders, and face life-threatening situations.  

Anorexia has many ways of developing, a few of them being bullying, peer pressure, and traumas, however, the person suffering from it is always incapable of having a healthy relationship with food. A person with anorexia has an irrational fear of gaining weight, and the only foods they consider to be “safe” are the ones with few calories and preferably filling. A common, yet not widely known habit of anorexics used to combat cravings is chewing food for a few seconds and then spitting it. This is done to prevent calorie intake while enjoying the flavor of the food being chewed. Anorexics feel anxious around foods that are “unsafe” even if they have a high nutritional value and often will fast to maintain a caloric deficit. Similarly, one of the reasons that might cause someone to experience obesity is using food as a coping mechanism. One may start to binge eat after going through a traumatic event or constantly feeling insecure about their appearance. For instance, some obese individuals were once slightly overweight children who got constantly called names and made fun of in school and found their comfort in food. Those suffering from obesity have moments when they realize how unhealthy their habits are, yet they feel powerless and find it extremely difficult to stop.  

Furthermore, anorexics create weight loss goals for themselves that are unsafe and nearly impossible to achieve. When the constant fasts and low-calorie meals are not resulting in weight loss, the anorexic starts becoming more frustrated with their appearance and might develop depression. Most social gatherings in our society revolve around food, causing someone who suffers from anorexia to create excuses to not go and avoid questions about why they are not eating. The recurring isolation causes feelings of unworthiness and discourages the person from potentially getting help to treat the disorder. In addition, one of the symptoms of depression is loss of appetite, which can become another reason for the anorexic to not seek treatment and aggravate the eating disorder even more. Likewise, the lack of mobility and humiliation that comes with obesity can easily cause a person to become depressed. A simple task like going out to get groceries can become arduous activity, and shoppers might stare (and even take pictures) at the obese person as if they were an animal at a zoo. Individuals suffering from obesity will isolate themselves to protect their dignity, even if it costs completely isolating themselves to avoid the looks of judgment from others. Being constantly secluded and feeling shame and guilt after eating a large meal can exacerbate depression and cause weight gain, putting the obese in a vicious circle.  

Finally, excessive food restriction and starvation can cause life-threatening complications for anorexics. Being that the heart is largely made of muscles, it is important to have a diet rich in proteins and fibers to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, however, anorexics’ diets are low in nutrients. If the heart is not strong to pump blood at a healthy rate, the individual’s heart rate will often fall below 40 beats per minute and increase the risk of heart failure. Moreover, low potassium levels caused by starvation can lead to irregular heartbeats and even cardiac arrest. When an individual with anorexia faces a life-threatening situation, they will get involuntarily hospitalized, but because treatment is expensive, the anorexic is released upon stabilization. Consequently, the person does not get their eating disorder treated and might potentially end up in the hospital again. In the same way, overeating can have deathly consequences. An obese person’s heart might become enlarged and stiff, causing the heart to not pump enough blood and increasing the risk of heart failure. Besides, constant binge-eating may cause the stomach to rupture or the esophagus to tear, which can be fatal without surgical intervention.  

While underweight anorexics and obese individuals might look completely different, both are victims of unhealthy patterns of behaviors used as coping mechanisms. Traumas and insecurities lead them to make irreversible decisions, often unintendedly, that slowly damages their bodies and minds. In addition, anorexia and obesity put their sufferers at risk of several diseases that can lead to death if left untreated. Whether they eat too much or too little, victims of disordered eating deserve compassion and judgment-free treatment, as the first step to treat both conditions is adequate psychological treatment.

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