Eating Disorders and Suicidal Thoughts

This paper aims to discuss eating disorders and suicidal thoughts; treatment of the disorders will also be addressed in the paper.

Please identity a person in the news or media who has identified himself/herself as suffering from anorexia or bulimia. Please describe the individual’s symptoms and background history of the development of the disorder. Please provide a web link providing information about the individual you chose to discuss

Anorexia and bulimia are often connected to the lifestyle of celebrities and show business, as the requirements of the industry are too harsh and often lead to unhealthy diets, depression, and eating disorders. One of the prominent examples is the singer Kesha who had been diagnosed with bulimia but successfully defeated the illness. Kesha stated that she was “abusing [her] body” and “not giving it the energy it needed” (Grow, 2014). She believed that it was her job to be skinny and sick. She had unrealistic expectations of her body and was terrified that people would take pictures of her to demonstrate how she looked (Grow, 2014). As her illness progressed, she was convinced by her mother to enter rehabilitation.

She went to therapy for two months and eventually realized that she did not have to fear paparazzi and any negative comments. Kesha stated that she “knew her self-worth”, and that search for help was also a sign of her power (Grow, 2014). As it can be seen, the treatment of bulimia nervosa included treating physical complications, psychoeducation about nutrition, and therapy (Sue, Sue, Sue, and Sue, 2013).

Discuss the reasons people commit suicide. Describe three different factors which would place a person at risk of committing suicide that would place a person at risk of committing suicide?

As Sue et al. point out, suicidal thoughts are more frequent among college students who feel stressed out by financial, family, college, and other problems (p. 252). Nevertheless, suicide rates among their non-college peers are even higher. Being widowed is also a factor that increases the risk of suicide (Sue et al., 2013). At last, an occupation also influences the person’s risk of committing suicide: psychiatrists, lawyers, and physicians are more likely to commit suicide. As medical staff has access to drugs and medication, it is more likely that they will complete the suicidal attempt (Sue et al., 2013).

However, occupations, stressful studying, and personal tragedies or losses are not the only reasons why people commit suicide. Biological and psychological factors (biochemistry and genetic history of a person, as well as addictions or mental health illnesses) are often connected to a higher risk of a suicide attempt. As Sue et al. (2013) notice, the primary risk factors are a history of mental illness, previous suicide attempts, substance abuse, and others (e.g. history of violence in the individual’s family) (p. 255). A suicide of a celebrity can create a wave of copycat suicides among young people.

Describe differences in suicide rates for males versus females and different races. How can you intervene to help a friend/colleague/or employee that becomes suicidal? Discuss in-depth the issue: Is suicide ever rational?

The suicide rates among males are four times higher than among females. If the person is older than 65 years and male, it is ten times more likely that this person will commit suicide compared to the female person (Sue et al., 2013). Nevertheless, women in the same age group try to commit suicide “three times as often as men” (Sue et al., 2013). The highest rate of suicide is among Native Americans; it is followed by white Americans, Mexican Americans, African Americans, Japanese, and Chinese Americans (Sue et al., 2013). Moreover, suicide is the second leading cause of death of Native Americans. Asian Americans have the lowest rates compared to the other ethnicities.

If a colleague or a friend feels suicidal, it is important to maintain contact and relationships because this can eventually change the outcome. The seriousness of the suicidal thoughts needs to be evaluated; any thoughts expressed by the individual should not be diminished. It is also helpful to speak about the stress the person experiences because such conversations may prove that the person suffers from exhaustion but does not want to commit suicide.

Suicides can be either rational or irrational as they depend on the context and other factors that may interfere with the normal way of living. Irrational suicides are often committed under the use of drugs, due to mental illnesses, or other problems with health and in personal life. Nevertheless, examples of rational suicides also exist, and they are called euthanasia. Some people that face pain and sufferings every day choose suicide as a rational way to end the torment. It is their right to end their life, and it should not be violated. For some people, it is the question of their moral right to “leave with dignity”.

What treatment strategies are effective in the treatment of eating disorders?

Prevention programs such as group-based intervention, multiple interactive sections that examine gender-specific issues, psychological intervention, and family therapy are particularly effective for treating not only anorexia nervosa but other eating disorders as well. Bulimia treatment includes the use of antidepressants and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Binge-eating disorder is treated similarly, but healthy methods of weight loss are also included (Sue et al., 2013).

Group-based interventions usually focus on messages that the media sends to the public about being feminine, elimination of “fat talk” and creation of a positive body image among patients, development of exercise and nutrition habits that are useful for patients, expression of feelings to peers, and work on assertiveness skills (Sue et al., 2013).

As anorexia nervosa is often connected to physical starvation and other physiological conditions, it is crucial to restoring the patient’s normal weight during the treatment. They can also lack motivation; its enhancement will help them participate in the prescribed activities and therapies. Psychotherapy can also be effective as it helps patients cope with emotional disturbances that they experienced or still experience as a result of the illness. Family therapy was also proven to be more successful than individual therapy during the treatment of eating disorders.

References

Grow, K. (2014). Kesha opens up about her eating disorder and experience in rehab. Rolling Stone. Web.

Sue, D., Sue, D. W., Sue, S., & Sue, D. M. (2013). Understanding abnormal behavior. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.