Solution Proposal Final Draft K Wong

Eating Disorders Influenced by Society Begins at Home

Society is undeniably bound to influence that surround them. Eating disorders have become a common norm in many communities, even though many do not notice. Even though we have the common sense of what is wrong and what is right, not everyone notices that they have fallen into enticing habits of eating disorders. The question is, who is to blame and what is the cause of all the victims of eating disorders? In society we cling to any form of media and bound ourselves to what others say about our own bodies, whether it be a compliment or an offense. But, everything begins at home. Home is a safe haven for many but, those who are left to judge and unconnected are triggered to pushing an eating disorder. An eating disorder is not a choice, and it is a major psychological problem occurring in people of all ages. There is an epidemic in motion, those who treat eating disorders as a lifestyle and those who teach ones embracing one's own body while living healthier. But, in order to face this problem society awareness and influence must be made in order to override those who embrace this disorder.

Women are encouraged to enjoy experiences such as hungry to get to their goal of being thin through excessive dieting. The average American woman is preoccupied, if not obsessed, with thinness. (Linott) Within society, every female body is emphasized as must to have good looks above everything else. “The pursuit of thinness hence is considered an acceptable and socially desirable goal.” (Casper 1994) Thinness becomes more than a sense of achievement, it becomes an addiction and obsession. Given the intensity and spread of societal pressures to be thin, the number women suffering from eating disorders continue to increase. (Shaw 2002, pp. 54)

The American Psychiatric Association states that anorexia nervosa is diagnosed in patients who weigh at least 15 percent less than normal, healthy weight for their expected height.(A.P.A.) People with anorexia nervosa do not maintain a normal weight. Some symptoms of anorexia are menstrual period cease, brittle bones and nails, depression, skin is coated with yellow pigments, etc. As for bulimia nervosa the patient usually don't have a specific weight. They can be underweight, normal, overweight, and obese. (A.P.A) Those with bulimia eat frequently and possibly eat over thousands of calories but after the binge eating stops they begin to feel the fear of gaining weight. Sufferers tend to hide their binges, they're behavior may go unnoticed even towards close ones. Some symptoms consist of inflamed throat, diuretics, irritation to the digestive system, etc. Treatments are both emotional and physical health through psychotherapy and having provided guidance.

It has stated that some psychiatrists have argued overtaking a group of eating disorders and putting them into specific categories to help clinicians and patients. Such categories are not specific since the category of EDNOS ranges from many similarities that derives into being an eating disorder. There are studies where Stanford University in California has found that 61.6% teenage girls were diagnosed to be under the category of EDNOS because they do not mark off as being anorexic and bulimic, yet they have criteria to be hospitalized.(JAMA) The University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis has found that patients diagnosed as EDNOS still hold similar aspects to those who are diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia.(JAMA)

The mental state of mind of someone with an eating disorder may choose an eating disorder and see it as a goal to achieve and even a lifestyle. (Lintott) The actions and mental decisions can be caused by wanting a glorifying end result. But, it shouldn't be seen as a lifestyle. There is not beauty beyond having an eating disorder. People who suffer eating disorders typically don't know or want to admit that it is a problem.
An eating disorder today is not considered a serious form of mental illness in some states and countries. In the United States, the failure to acknowledge the seriousness of eating disorders has resulted in a health care crisis for sufferers and their families. (Klump, PhD et al.) Such a disorder can take over every aspect of a victim's life. Everyday harm will eventually lead to consequences and death. Eating disorders are severe and long lasting that it interferes with functioning in family, school, community, and or other major life activities. (Klump, PhD et al.)

Most people who are victims of eating disorders are aware of the size and shape of their bodies. But, the eating disorder becomes a sense of identity which allows them to understand their inner self. Triggers begin eating disorders, it can even go without notice. Now a days everyone diet, but, dieting often starts when a person wants a major change. Dieting gives a person a sense of self-control and it provides a great sense of accomplishment. “It allows the person to get a sense of control, thus feeling better about themselves. It brings positive feelings to oneself as the act of dieting grows and manifests into a dangerous preoccupation with food and fear of gaining weight.” (Lintott) But, today women diet regularly in order to achieve their goal.

Diet and exercise is a trigger for eating disorders, it begins as a desire in wanting to improve one’s physical self. This does not mean one should stop dieting and exercising but, excessively doing both can become harmful. The eating disorder grows out of being a desire to improve a physical aspect by becoming the ability to overcome a physical self by an act of will. (Lintott) It is a human desire to need nourishment. We all need to eat to survive, we are also drawn to food for pleasure and comfort. (Lintott) So, in order to lose weight the idea of distinguishing the desire for food and being able to overcome such desire becomes a strength of acting again the inevitable human need. This is what an eating disorder individual attempts to accomplish.

Some fall in demand for thinness due to family influence. Based on community studies, it shows that the more change that occur within a family structure the higher chances of an eating disorder to occur. It is due to many reasons for a rupture in family structure. For example a parent leaving, or step-parent entering the family can cause a sense of misplacement. (Le Grange, PhD et. al) It is equivalent to high parental expectations, low parental contact, and more family criticism about shape and weight. (Le Grange, PhD et. al) A study shows that those with significantly more parental problems are at an increase risk to be under mental and emotional distraught. These parental problems consist of high criticisms, arguments, high expectations, over-involvement, under-involvement, low affection, and criticisms from family about shape, weight, or eating. (Le Grange, PhD, et. al)
Influences from what the media portrays do influence women tend to begin disordered eating behaviors. Most women who fall under the categories of having self-control over choosing not to eat, such concepts and actions brings family to not be accepting and force provide food. Theses women begin to unacknowledged and judged where they further push their self-control of self-starvation. (Lintott) Sometimes such actions can also be easily hidden from family members where it isn't as noticeable as one would think. But, there are also those who consider that behavior cannot be directly accounted as cultural matters.

Today, up to seven and a half million women in the United States are taking extreme measures in order to gain the thin ideal body. They starve themselves, binge, and purge, excessive exercise, or engaging in a combination of these activities. (Lintott) The high demand for thinness is influenced by the visual culture of society. The media emphasized unrealistic body ideals by images of overly thin models, and skinny actresses. Although the visual culture of society is closely one of the main cause and influence of today’s society eating disorders, it all begins at home.

Although media influences the society and challenges the norm, family has a much higher role in eating disorders. The role of family and culture is where disordered thinking and eating habit begins. Many families may come to find such actions as absurd and unacceptable, thus further leading the individual to seek a haven where no judgement is made and they continue to embrace the eating disorder, they have.(Haworth-Hoeppner) Without accepted from families, where would there be safe haven be for those who are troubled?

Family has a higher role in cases of eating disorders. As the saying goes, everything begins at home. Those within the family environment of having perfection, control, and enmeshment are the norms. It the development of self and self-image. (Haworth-Hoeppner) Such cultures do transmit messages about thinness and body shape. Family usually alludes and convey such judgement to other family members and so on. It leads theses individuals to no other option but look towards other options for help.

An eating disorder is not something one can physically brush off, it is something that takes over a daily life. The numbers become everything and anything. Calorie counting, weight, appearance, exercise, and abuse of over the counter drugs are all used in an unhealthy way. Without treatment, it can lead to physical problems and eventually death. An eating disorder is hard to diagnose and those who have it may continue to believe that it’s a minor issue. This becomes very problematic, alluding to the fact that it is difficult to say who has an eating disorder yet not diagnosed as one. There is a fine line that separates those with diagnoses and those who have symptoms but are not classified as having an eating disorder.

Everyone has a common sense of what an eating disorder is and how it is wrong. Even today there are many movements that for embracing one's own body no matter what size or shape. But, in order to accomplish awareness it must begin with family. They must be aware of their actions and how some judgement can influence and damage a being. With higher criticism about weight routinely will cause a sense of misplacement. As the saying goes, family is home, there will be no sense of secure placement if judgement is thrown. Families should be involved routinely in the treatment of young people with an eating disorder. Exactly how the involvement will be most helpful will vary from family to family. (Le Grange, et al.)

Awareness is a key solution to solving family influence. Many families do not understand what society has done to influence their children today into doing what they do. The act of self-starving whether it be too skinny or too fat families should be aware enough to accept rather than to judge. There are movements today that go against the thinspiration norms with the use of social media and public service announcements. There can be an eating disorder victim anywhere, whether at work or at school. Spreading awareness is key to providing a push for those who can’t find help. Rather than embracing disorderly conduct of gaining a thin body, there are healthier options. By providing awareness it can allow different options in being able to improve a physical aspect of one's body.

What is important is that the awareness would help current victims of eating disorders want to heal rather than continue being ill. An eating disorder is not a choice, and it is a major psychological problem occurring in people of all ages. By allowing those who have and don’t have eating disorders to understand the customs and background of eating disorders will enhance their knowledge in accepting those who are influential different. If awareness can become an epidemic, it will defeat the norms of media in society and allow families to build their relations. Though there is no one to blame, there will always be a more healthy and positive option besides self-starvation. There are other ways one can achieve strength through an act of will.

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