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The Success of Anorexia Treatment

Consequences of Anorexia and Bulimia

Keel (2004) states that there are physical and psychoemotional consequences associated with both anorexia and bulimia. These include: extreme weight loss, stomach and esophagus pain; tooth decay from acid stomach, malnutrition, low blood pressure, electrolyte imbalances, loss of muscle tissue (including heart tissue), depression, anxiety and even death.

Of course each disorder has some very specific consequences. These have been delineated by the National Eating Disorders Association (2006) who reports that in the case of anorexia, the body slows down all of its processes in order to conserve what little energy it is getting. This leads to the following consequences: reduction of bone density (osteoporosis); muscle loss and weakness; severe dehydration (sometimes resulting in kidney failure); fainting and fatigue as well as a general physical weakness; dry hair and skin as well as hair loss; and growth of a downy layer of hair called lanugo over the entire body as part of an effort to keep the body warm.

With respect to bulimia, the National Association of Eating Disorders (2006) states that the entire digestive system is placed in a state of imbalance and that this can, in turn, affect the heart and other major organs. Typical consequences include: electrolyte imbalances associated with irregular heartbeats and even heart failure due to the loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body as a result of purging behaviors; gastric ruptures due to binging; inflammation or even rupture of the esophagus; chronic irregularity in bowel movements; peptic ulcers; and pancreatitis.

Why Adolescent Females Are Susceptible to Anorexia and Bulimia

According to Keel (2004), adolescent females tend to be more susceptible to anorexia and bulimia than other groups. Common reasons for this increased susceptibility include: increased susceptibility to societal pressure to be thin, higher genetic prev...

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