Eating disorders and alcohol addiction are two of the most common mental illness affecting many people, especially the young, today. These may be products of the severe alteration of lifestyle among the people nowadays or the influence of media. Also, traumatic experiences from the past could greatly contribute in the occurrence of these mental illnesses. As a basic unit of our society, our families can give the greatest impact on both the occurrence and the possible treatment of these problems.
Eating disorders are not merely a dysfunction in its eating habits and food intake but it is more of a distorted self-image. This constitutes a pessimistic mind set towards one’s physical form. People with eating disorders are not |essentially fat. Usually for people with anorexia, the patients are skinny and pale. Anorexics tend to think that they are very fat that they should exercise more and eat lesser, even though in reality they tend to be very thin to the point of becoming malnourished. People who are anorexic intentionally miss out meals and almost eat nothing. They feel at fault when they eat. Even worse, just the mere action of thinking about food makes them guilty. They become obsessed of eating less or nothing. On the other hand, another eating disorder called bulimia entails binge eating. Habitual binge eating and forceful vomiting characterize bulimia. Usually, bulimic are not skinny rather, that could be normal in weight only their perception of their body weight is distorted.
Various factors could contribute to the occurrence of eating disorders. One primary factor would be the potent influence of media. Media dictates the standards of society. Media materials create an image of a beautiful woman through a skinny model and a hot and handsome guy through a male model with full abs and biceps. Undeniably, people watch T.V. more than they do their household chores. It may be an overstatement but the point is people watch television almost everyday. Thus, what media shows, psychologically, chronicles into their mind set and later on influences their behaviors. Moreover, peer pressure is also one probable cause of eating disorders, most especially among teenagers. Young people have the urge to belong. It is during this phase that young boys and girls are still in the course of knowing their selves and trying to find their place in society. And the people that surround them matters so much that most likely, they end up giving efforts to be accepted. Lastly, traumatic experiences during the past may contribute to the occurrence of an eating disorder. People, when faced with a very stressful occasion which they feel they could no longer face, usually opt to doing unhealthy behaviors. Traumatic experiences such as being sexually abused could greatly lower one’s self-esteem. Lower self-esteem in turn makes the person to feel pessimistic towards the self- a very likely candidate for anorexia or bulimia.
Another resort for traumatic experiences is excessive and unhealthy alcohol intake. With alcohol addiction, a glass of wine a week becomes a glass of wine a day or worse. Alcohol is a sedative-hypnotic drug that makes the human brain like other sedative-hypnotic drugs such as the barbiturates and benzodiazepine tranquilizers. Alcoholism can be blame on one’s heredity but there can be more reasons. Other factors such as the influence of family, friends, and traumatic experiences could contribute to alcoholism.
Treating both eating disorders and alcoholism is not as easy as treating someone with cough or colds. These disorders need breaking a sort of habit. For anorexics and bulimics, the fascination for weight loss and negative self regard should be eliminated. As for alcoholics, the habit of excessive drinking should be discontinued. How are these dealt with? Usually, treatment and rehabilitation centers provide medical and psychological treatment. Withdrawal symptoms are handled by providing substitute drugs that would lessen the symptoms. Cognitive and behavioral therapies are also provided for a full recovery. The patient should not only be able to discontinue the behavior but also should be able to stop the unhelpful thoughts and the distorted mind constructs. Here, the patient is given a opportunity to start a new life free from addiction and very low self-esteem.
Eating disorder and alcohol addiction are the two most common illness being faced by our society today especially the younger ones.