Eating disorder is "an unhealthy relationship between food and weight affecting many other factors in a person’s life" as described by the National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders (ANAD).
The trend of dieting has been triggering eating disorders in young girls and women. Men and women suffer from eating disorders because of the beauty standard that have been set by society and young crowd often feel obligated to fit into these beauty standards. Doctors and psychologists report that there has been a significant increase in the number of patients with eating disorders in Australia over the past few decades. In 2004 - 2005, 14 percent of all hospitalizations for mental and behavioral disorders in women aged 12-24 were due to eating disorders.
There are different types of eating disorders:
Anorexia: An eating disorder characterized by relentless pursuit of weight loss and fear of weight gain, which is related to self-induced weight loss behavior.
Bulimia Nervosa: Eating disorders characterized by overeating followed by ways to avoid weight gain.
Binge Eating Disorder: A disorder involving frequent consumption of large amounts of food and uncontrollable eating.
Pica: An eating disorder characterized by a tendency to consume substances with very low or no nutritional value, such as soil, chalk, hair, paper, etc.
Instances where different types of media are conveying the importance of physical beauty in the contemporary world and the methods to achieve these characteristics are common. It goes without saying that the attachment to food, the way these foods are consumed, and their positive effects in enhancing attractiveness are self-evident. Due to the spread of ideas of so-called beauty standards, the problem of eating disorders has increased in the contemporary world. The increase in dieting and the popularity of the dieting industry are considered to be one of the reasons leading to the increase in eating disorders and psychological disorders. Dieting is believed to lead to unhealthy obsessions with food. Binge eating after a hungry diet is a common pattern of compulsive over eating. People with eating disorders are not actually open about their behavior. Higher rates of disorders have been noticed in teenage girls as they consider it to be self-diagnosis whereas adults and males are advised by physicians to start it to lose weight for medical reasons.
If you notice a family member or friend who seems to show signs of an eating disorder, consider talking to that person about your concern for his or her well-being. Though you may not be able to prevent an eating disorder from developing, reaching out with compassion may encourage the person to seek treatment.