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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Food Addiction - 1495 words
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Addiction is a dependence on a substance in which the affected individual feels powerless to stop. Millions of Americans have addictions to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, and even to behaviors such as compulsive gambling and shopping. Our recent studies suggest that millions of Americans are addicted to food, as well. An average American is bombarded daily with random propaganda to try to sell what some would consider 'perfection'. Most American citizens try to emulate those fictional characters in celebrity magazines. The truth is a lot of those pictures are air-brushed and some of the individuals have had extensive cosmetic surgery and other medical procedures done to look that way.
This media manipulation is the main cause for the many eating disorders and the people addicted to them. For most people eating is a satisfying experience. But for some, eating is an impulse. Men and women of all ages force themselves to eat too much or too little, and experience incredible psychological pain when they do. Body weight and image become a fixation that damages relationships and has severe health consequences
Food addiction is a disorder characterized by obsession with food, the accessibility of food and the expectancy of pleasure from the intake of food. Food addiction involves the recurring consumption of food against the individual's better judgment resulting in loss of control and anxiety or the limitation of food and obsession with body weight and image. In today's society the worth of a female is based upon her age, her body size and her looks. The male's worth is based on the amount of money earned or inherited, and athleticism. These images of "perfection" have been engraved in people's minds, forcing them to believe that if they can't live up to the same standards it will mean that they're not good enough.
This is a main cause of most disorders and addictions. Some addictionologists believe that society contributes to the development of addictions by establishing unreasonable or unreachable criteria for worthiness. Individuals who are under chronic emotional distress like negative feelings of self and inappropriate methods for dealing with emotional stress use food disorders. There are three main types of food addictions, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and compulsive overeating. Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by extreme fear of gaining weight and the relentless pursuit of thinness.
Actions such as excessive weighing and unnecessary measuring of body parts are common. Self-esteem is reliant upon body shape and weight. Physical implications may include disruption of the menstrual cycle also known as amenorrhea, signs of starvation, thinning of hair or hair loss, bloated, yellowish palms/soles of feet, dry and pasty skin. The risks that people take while indulging in anorexia can also become physiologically and mentally damaging. There are several effective treatments.
One of which is hospitalization, this occurs when the weight loss is greater than 30% in 3 months time. Some other effects to be taken into consideration when hospitalizing a patient are the risk of suicide and depression, severe binging and purging, and serious metabolic disturbance. Therapy and counseling is used to help the patients with depression and family complications that may have led to the state they're in. Clinical studies have not yet identified a medication that could improve the core symptoms of anorexia. Bulimia Nervosa is the diet-binge-purge cycle.
It is an illness that is mostly found in young females. This cycle involves a strict diet, uncontrollable eating and then unhealthy strategies to get rid of the food and therefore the guilt. This addictive eating disorder is based on guilt. The individual tends to under-consume and thereby becoming very hungry. Once the individual gives in and allows one's self to eat, the person begins to over-eat. After finishing the large quantities of food, the individual begins to feel immense guilt and shame. Concerned about the physical image of one's self, with the clear image of perfection engraved in one's mind, people search for different ways to get rid of the food before gaining the unwanted weight.
This leads to forced vomiting, misuse of laxatives and fasting. The medical complications include cardiac arrhythmias, esophageal tears, electrolyte disturbances, gastrointestinal problems, and dental problems. If not treated these complications, like anorexia complications, could become life threatening. The treatment involved is not as extreme as for the anorexic because the patients are not as secretive. For this reason there is hardly a need for hospitalization, though if the binging and purging are at an extreme and patients experience other psychiatric symptoms like thoughts of suicide, it may be recommended.
The first step is usually psychotherapy for counseling. A lot of the patients benefit greatly and fully recover from this treatment. It tackles issues like mood swings and substance-related disorders. Support groups have been installed to help the patients to overcome their disorders. If this treatment is not enough pharmacotherapy is used as well. Antidepressants have been successful in helping patients suffering from symptoms of bulimia.
The third type of food addiction is Compulsive Overeating. The general compulsive eater consumes food for reasons other than hunger. The sad fact is American citizens are going through an obesity epidemic. In fact, one in every four American adults is obese. The main reasons for the epidemic are the consumption of unhealthy food, lack of exercise, and compulsive eating.
Most Americans are eating 'dead' foods, greatly processed and lacking nutrients and enzymes. These 'dead' foods are dangerous because they appear to have an addictive quality. Sugar, alcohol and heavily processed food have a great effect on disrupting one's natural blood sugar balance. When feeling depressed one can reach out for a chocolate bar or that piece of cake to receive that pleasant sensation inside. However, subsequently a couple of minutes after consumption, one's earlier feelings resurface.
Not only does this affect the chemical balance in one's body but also the emotions. The perfect metaphor would be a see-saw, one minute the emotions are up and then the next minute, they're down. Compulsive overeating is used as a sort of coping mechanism, by using food to provide comfort. The quantity of food greatly varies among compulsive overeaters. When people use food to provide comfort they are usually dealing with different feelings, such as anxiety, guilt, shame, low self-esteem, emotional distress, or stress.
It usually begins at the childhood stage when eating patterns are developed. Some warning signs of a compulsive eater maybe eating uncontrollably, preoccupation with body weight, depression or mood swings, and irregular periods. The physical risks can include weight related hypertension, fatigue, nausea, weight gain, increase risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and forms of cancer for obese individuals. Recovering from compulsive overeating and losing weight are extremely difficult processes and requires long term changes. The treatment tends to be limited to a healthy easy to follow diet, changing life styles, and therapy for psychological needs. As for pharmacological treatment, compulsive overeaters are primarily treated with antidepressants.
Treatment programs that deal with only the depression will not be successful in breaking the phase of compulsive overeating. Treatment such as, cognitive/behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy, is as effective as antidepressants in the short term. However, in the long term, psychological treatment is more effective. The compulsive overeater requires treatment for both the clinical symptoms of depression, and the behavior of compulsive eating, to successfully end this vicious cycle. The three main eating disorders that America is battling with today happen to be addictive and hard to defeat. They are all interrelated with one another, proving to be the step before or after. In anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and over-compulsive eating the individual is fastened to a strict diet, practically starving one's self. Then it moves onto binge eating, in other words consuming food in large quantities.
Then feeling guilty and ashamed, one uses unhealthy methods to get rid of the calories. Using these methods brings more shame onto the individual causing the cycle to restart. Meanwhile the individual's state of mind is also being psychologically damaged. The person becomes depressed because the image that the individual sees in the mirror does not match the image seen on television. This causes a decrease in self-esteem and confidence.
The guilt, shame and low self-esteem causes binge eating and the cycle begins all over again. These eating disorders are highly addictive causing Americans a high state of panic. The treatments used for every one of the disorders are different. Anorexia depends on hospitalization while on the other hand over eating doesn't require it at all. All three disorders require some sort of therapy to deal with the psychological damages and to prevent further complications.
These three illnesses are affecting a lot of America's adolescence as well as the adults. Despite the caution and awareness people have to exercise when dealing with such addictive disorders there are treatment facilities that can help. In any case, it cannot be overemphasized how important treatment is, the sooner, the better. The longer the behavior exits the harder it is to overcome.
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