Staying Informed on Eating Disorders
By Alexa Cline, Senior
Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Exercise Bulimia, and Binge Eating-- they’re all varying types of eating disorders. And while females in their teens or early twenties are at the greatest risk for developing such a disorder, it is possible for anyone to develop one. There is no gender, age, or ethnicity off-limits when it comes to eating disorders. That’s why it is important that people are well informed on the subject.
As with other mental illnesses, there is no exact known cause for these disorders. However, there are three things that certainly appear to play a large role in the development: Genetics, psychological and emotional health, and society.
For example, people with direct relatives who suffer from an eating disorder, may have genes that increase their risk of developing one themselves. Some may speculate that this is because being around such behaviors either encourages or normalizes them to family members.
There may also be deeper psychological or emotional health problems found in those affected by these disorders. Low self-esteem, perfectionism, impulsive behavior and troubled relationships are just a few things that often trouble these people. Their disorder may be an attempt to make themselves more attractive because they think they’re ugly, or just not good-looking enough. Their actions could even be an effort made to save a failing relationship. That’s not to say eating disorders are ever justifiable, but there are many different things that factor into the who and why of this disease.
That’s why it’s important to watch for the warning signs. Aside from the obvious purging, there are other things that may suggest someone is suffering from an eating disorder. Frequently skipping meals or making excuses to avoid eating, bingeing, significant weight loss, rapid weight gain, and constant fluctuating weight are all warning-signs to be conscious of.
If you suspect someone you know is suffering from one of these disorders, it is important that you don’t ignore it. Try speaking with them in private and offer them support. Don’t simply give up if they get angry or defensive, because both are common responses. It’s also more difficult to overcome these disorders the longer they go untreated or undiagnosed, so be sure to encourage them to seek professional help.
Mayo Clinic Staff. "Eating Disorders." Causes. N.p., 14 Feb. 2015. Web. 04 Mar. 2015. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eating-disorders/basics/causes/con-20033575>.
Mayo Clinic Staff. "Eating Disorders." Risk Factors. N.p., 14 Feb. 2015. Web. 04 Mar. 2015. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eating-disorders/basics/risk-factors/con-20033575>.
Smith, Melinda, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. "Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder." N.p., Feb. 2015. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.