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Eating disorders of our time

May 14, 2020
Κατηγορία: Nutrition Issues
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In modern times it is a frequent phenomenon to turn to incorrect eating habits. This trend peaks mainly during the period of adolescence, causing disorders that directly affect the social life of individuals, while they are likely to cause serious health problems, threatening even their lives. Moreover, despite their heterogeneity, all these eating disorders stem basically from a common set of factors, among which the very temperament of adolescents stands out, as formed on the basis of their social and psychological needs.
During the transition, therefore, from childhood to adulthood, physical changes occur, which create disruption, but also signal to the social environment and the adolescent himself his physical maturation. Thus, new expectations develop and different goals are set, which make conflict with the family environment inevitable in a number of cases.

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Therefore, as unconscious desires collide with social dictates, defensive pathological mechanisms are employed, which result in the use of food at the expense of the self. In this way, the adolescent body is reduced to “an omnipotent symbolic platform”, in an effort of the individual to become independent, by disinvesting the idealized parental patterns.
One of the main food intake disorders is anorexia nervosa. This is a psychogenic disorder consisting in the irrational fear of fat and expressed in the obsessive refusal of the adolescent to accept his food, although, often, he does not cease to have an appetite for food.
This volitional resistance to food is undoubtedly linked to the projected social standards that rank external beauty as the only guarantee of success and recognition, identifying it directly and exclusively with underweight models. As the “very thin equals beautiful and successful” doctrine prevails, many teenagers, especially girls, become obsessed with “ideal weight”.
In any case, this phenomenon is also related to the strong desire of adolescents for social acceptance, combined with the fact that they have not fully formed their personality. By extension, they adopt effortlessly the projected standards and try to acquire “perfect proportions” in order to enhance their loveliness and become socially established. Thus, they turn to self-imposed prolonged starvation, while, if they drift into overeating, they seek its cancellation by inducing vomiting or taking laxatives and diuretic pills.
Other times, again, exhausting diets lead to frustration with the result and, eventually, are pushed into overeating episodes, characterized by eating large amounts of food, especially fatty and “forbidden” foods, in a short period of time, even when the person feels that he has had enough.
Of course, obesity, as a manifestation of an eating disorder, stems not only from neurogenic bulimia, but also from the broader social conditions of life of modern man. Stress, asthmatic living rhythms, competitiveness and loneliness intensify the mental need for overeating in all areas, which, among other things, is also found in the diet.
In addition, the high cost of everyday life, combined with the rapid pace of Life, Direct many people to the easy solution of cheap, ready and fast food. This option, however, does not allow individuals to control the materials used and, by extension, to ensure a high-quality diet. On the contrary, their body weight increases, without ingesting the nutrients necessary for their health.
For the prevention of the above eating disorders, it is necessary to coordinate action of the state, education and family, so that people, and especially young people, acquire proper nutritional orientation and avoid unhealthy habits and food. At the same time, however, multi-level support needs to be provided to adolescents, in order not to burden their already disturbed mental and emotional balance and thus easier to resolve their internal conflicts that could lead them to eating disorders.

C.S. M.G.

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