Women and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are severe behavior problems. They can include severe overeating or not consuming enough food to stay healthy. They also involve extreme concern about your shape or weight. Not all is known about how eating disorders come about, but there are many theories is to why it happens. Most eating disorders can start at age 13-17. During this time the average person will have emotional/ physical changes, academic pressures, and a greater degree of peer pressure. When you combine the pressure to be like celebrity role models with the fact that bodies grow and change during puberty, it's not hard to see why some teens develop a undesirable view of themselves. Celebrity teens and athletes conform to the "Hollywood ideal" girls are petite and skinny, and guys are athletic and muscular, and these body types are popular not only in Hollywood but also in high school.

Some known eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating. When one has anorexia nervosa they will often become too thin because of not eating enough because of the idea that you are to "fat". Bulimia nervosa comes about when one overeats, and then proceeds to purge themselves (by means of self-inducing vomiting or using laxatives). Whereas binge-eating occurs when one "over-eats" or has "out-of-control" eating methods.

When suffering from these conditions especially anorexia you might notice a drop in blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate, hair loss, fingernail breakage, loss of periods, lanugo hair (soft hair that can grow all over the skin), light headiness, inability to concentrate, anemia, swollen joints, brittle bones. Suffering from bulimia may include symptoms like constant stomach pain, damage to stomach and kidneys, tooth decay, "chipmunk cheeks" (when salivary glands permanently expand from throwing up so often), loss of periods, loss of the mineral potassium(which can cause heart problems or even death in some scenarios).

The good news to eating disorders is that they can be treated. You can seek help through dietitians, medical doctors, and mental health professionals. Therapy or counseling is vital to getting better; sometimes even family therapy is a key part to eating healthy again. If you are not comfortable with talking to family, or a doctor, you could talk to a friend, teacher, school nurse, or counselor to receive some support for you situation.