Eating disorder and dieting among teenage and college female's rates are rising. Higher rates of eating disorders are being reported in certain subgroups such as dancers, models, actresses, and athletes (Barr Taylor, Sharpe, Shisslak, Bryson, Estes, Gray, McKnight, Crago, Kraemer, & Killen, 1998). In recent years, anorexia- nervosa and bulimia- nervosa have become more and more common (Papalia, & Olds, 1998). Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder distinguished by self-starvation. A typical person with anorexia nervosa diets and exercises obsessively and is withdrawn, depressed and appears to be a perfectionist (Papalia, & Olds, 1998). Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person binges and eats an excessive amount of food and then purges by induced vomiting, excessive exercise, fasting or any other form of removing the food and calories from the body. Most people with bulimia are obsessed with their weight and body image. Although they do not become unusually thin, they do tend to be depressed and ashamed of their eating habits (Papalia, & Olds, 1998). .
Many girls who suffer from an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia also suffer from depression and lack of self-esteem. Anorexics tend to set very high standards for themselves and feel they always have to prove their competence. They also feel the only control they have in their lives is in the area of food and weight. (Thompson, 1996) Bulimics usually do not feel secure about their own self worth and tend to strive for approval from others. They see food as a source of comfort. Bulimics are more likely to admit they have a problem and seek help than anorexics. (Thompson, 1996) Many of the signs and symptoms for the two eating disorders are similar, fatigue, muscle weakness, mood swings, excessive exercising, and obsession with food, irregular menstruation and damage to vital organs. A person with bulimia doesn't necessarily lose a significant amount of weight but their weight does tend to fluctuate by about 10-15 pounds.