Today’s society has placed much emphasis on being thin. For a young woman, the pressure to be thin can be overwhelming. The pages of magazines are filled with waif-like women who are often made even thinner by computer enhancement. Many American teenage girls are suffering from distorted body image. These disorders are extremely difficult to overcome and may even be fatal.

Anorexia is characterized by self-starvation. Bulimia is characterized by binge-purge cycles (eating extremely large quantities of food and, shortly after, vomiting to purge it from the body). Men are not excluded from either of these disorders. With the huge fitness craze that has taken place in the past twenty years, more men have taken up bodybuilding and weight training. The pressure to be fit and buff has led to the same distorted thinking in men that women suffer.

An eating disorder is any disorder that results in long-term, obsessive behavior relating to food or the body.

Symptoms include low blood pressure, irritable and aggressive behavior, constipation, cold hands and feet, dry skin, dull eyes, no menstrual period, eroded tooth enamel (from vomiting), low pulse rate, weakness, and depression.