Understanding Eating Disorders Essay

1378 words - 6 pages

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness; 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from eating disorders and only 1 in 10 of those 24 million are treated (ANAD). Eating disorders do not discriminate; all ages, genders, ethnicities and races can be victim to this mental illness. It’s important to be aware of the impact eating disorders have on societies across the globe and how the media plays a role if we want to fight the source and promote prevention and/or rehabilitation. I’ve known many people in my life who have some sort of eating disorder, whether it’s anorexia(not eating enough), binge eating(eating large amounts of food rapidly), bulimia (throwing up their food) or just struggling with an unsatisfying self-image. Becoming aware of eating disorders and how they are developed is important to me because in a perfect world, I would like to see this illness become less common or diminished completely among those that I love and anyone else in today’s society. Eating disorders hit home for many people, including myself. Raising awareness may decrease the rate of eating disorders by informing the population of the harm this illness causes and hopefully promote prevention and/or rehabilitation. With the 3 theoretical approaches used by sociologists, Eating disorders can be understood which will better inform society on how to raise awareness, prevent this illness and help those who suffer from eating disorders.
Functionalism is the oldest and most commonly used theoretical approach used to understand social issues. Functionalism is a macrosociological perspective that presents the idea that society consists of different components working together to help a society function as one. Sociologists Emile Durkheim and Auguste Comte compared functionalism to the body, analyzing that “To study an organ such as the heart, we need to show how it relates to other parts of the body. When we learn how the heart pumps blood, we understand its vital role in the continuation of the life of the organism” (Giddens, et al). Functionalism consists of two distinguished functions proposed by Robert Merton; Latent and manifest functions. Latent functions are the consequences of one’s actions that they were unaware of. Manifest functions are one’s intended outcome of their own actions. Merton also makes the distinguishment between functions and dysfunctions in a society. The function consists of the components that help society thrive while the dysfunctions are the components that challenge a society’s ability to thrive (Giddens, et al). The functions of a society ultimately consist of ones beliefs, morals, norms, values and culture.
Eating disorders are a dysfunction in society. Eating disorders cause psychological issues among its victims such as “inability to separate from the family, lack of self-esteem, difficulty regulating mood, more impulsive – sometimes with shoplifting, substance abuse, etc., sexual abuse, family...

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