An understanding of how eating disorders develop is very important to help prevent people from developing an eating disorder. Although many people do not realize it, eating disorders can be life threatening and even fatal. People who suffer from bulimia or anorexia will eat excessively to lose weight, but they do not realize that they are doing so at their own peril. Anorexics will starve themselves to death due to their disorder. Bulimia will affect people of all ages, and there are warning signs that should be apparent if you are seeing someone you know suffering from this problem.
One of the most common symptoms of a binge-eating disorder is a rapid weight loss. People suffering from this disorder will often wear baggy clothes, skip meals, and exercise very little. The most common binge eating disorders involve anorexia nervosa, binge overeating, and bulimia. However, while both of these are serious, the latter is deemed to be the more dangerous form of anorexics. Binge eaters will purge themselves on a regular basis, usually taking few days off between purging episodes. In the beginning, this is not noticeable, but over time, it becomes obvious as weight loss starts to occur.
Many researchers believe that the onset of eating disorders can be tied into the increased use of the internet and social media. Many young adults today spend a lot of time on social media websites such as MySpace and Facebook. These websites are highly interactive and allow users to form social relationships with other members. Unfortunately, many of these relationships can turn into unhealthy relationships, and those who have an eating disorder will often participate in these activities.
Researchers have also linked the increased use of social media to how eating disorders develop in young adults. It seems that there are genetic and neurological differences between people who suffer from psychiatric disorders versus those who do not. For example, those with psychiatric disorders have higher levels of what is called “advice gene” testosterone. This hormone promotes the development of obesity, which is typically correlated with obesity. Yet, those with higher genetic scores have lower polygenic scores. This would suggest that obesity could be genetic, in some form, even though there is no direct evidence linking obesity and polygenic scores.
Another factor linked with how eating disorders may develop in college students is excessive exercise. This is especially true of young women who are extremely concerned about their body weight. Excessive exercise is one of the primary ways in which the development of an eating disorder can begin. Most college students participate in extreme sports such as football and basketball.
Recent studies indicate that genetic differences between identical twins, which are considered the best research tools to studying traits, may not accurately reflect differences in behavior or personality. One research study that attempted to link obesity and eating disorders found that identical twins who participated in extreme sports were significantly more likely to develop bulimia than non-identical twins who did not participate in extreme sports. Although the study was unable to draw a definitive conclusion, it is important to note that identical twins often experience similar behaviors; therefore, identifying obesity or eating disorder at an early stage makes it easier to treat. In addition, researchers have identified significant influences on a person’s personality that coincide with their likelihood of developing either bulimia or anorexia. Researchers believe that individuals who have extreme positive parenting characteristics are at a greater risk for developing eating disorders.
Athletes are another group that is at heightened risk for developing eating disorders. Although professional athletes are certainly at higher risk for these conditions, even recreational athletes have been found to have certain behavioral tendencies. Many of these individuals participate in extreme exercises. Some of these sports include extreme mountain climbing, football, basketball, and track and field. The higher level of physical activity may increase the risk of developing an eating disorder.
Eating disorders develop in many people at some point in their lives. The disorder can range from a mild desire to cut down on the size of one’s body to severe cases where patients will severely restrict their caloric intake. Most of the time, the person suffering from bulimia will engage in binge eating, exercising to high extremes and engaging in other compensatory behaviors. In terms of research, an individual who engages in extreme binge eating or extreme exercise is at a greater risk for developing both bulimia and anorexia later in life. However, research has revealed that there are a number of differences between how eating disorders develop in different populations.