By CAROLINE HART
Eating disorders are defined as: any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. Two of the most common eating disorders are known as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Though these are the most common, they are not the only two. There is also binge-eating and other specifically diagnosed eating disorders, like picky eating, that lead to serious issues such as unhealthy weight.
|CAROLINE HART FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY|
In the United States, at least 30 million people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities suffer from this some form of this disease. Eating disorders are considered a mental illness, and because of that, more often than not, it works hand in hand with depression, anxiety, and self-harm. Many hold the misconception that eating disorders are attention seeking behaviors, when they actually are not. People suffering with the illnesses want to keep it hidden and not be noticed.
Eating disorders do not just happen out of the blue. They often start in high stress environments or situations such as school because students feel the need to live up to impossible standards. Today’s media also bears a large portion of responsibility for people thinking they need to have a certain body image. In magazines and online, there are always pictures of people who seem to be “flawless”. This could lead to people having self confidence issues which, in turn, could lead to the start of an eating disorder.
Hiding an eating disorder is extremely detrimental. A person who is suffering from the disease or knows of someone suffering, should talk to a trusted adult. Speaking up can really help someone out who does not realize how awful their situation actually is. Mrs. Davis, a guidance counselor at WHS, expressed, “If peers are aware that there is an eating disorder happening, they should report it to a trusted adult, counselor, or even the school nurse.” People with the illness typically do not want their disorder to come to the surface, so when a friend does tell someone, the sufferer may get very angry. In the long run, it is what is best for the struggling person.
Though eating disorders often occur in teens and young adults, that does not mean that they are the only people who have a chance of developing one. A famous singer, Demi Lovato, started struggling with her eating disorder when she was just eight years old. Lovato, now 25, continues to struggle with her eating disorder. She states, “The less I have to think about food, the easier it is to go about having a normal life and I don’t want to let anybody down, so when I do have moments when I slip up, I feel very ashamed.”
Eating disorders can make anyone struggle, even the most successful people. If you know someone or you are someone who is at war with an eating disorder, you are not alone. You can get the help you need to get better by talking to a trusted adult, a guidance counselor, or call the helpline at (800) 931-2237. You do not have to battle this by yourself.