A No Laughing Matter

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What is an eating disorder exactly? A range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. When people think of this, they typically think of someone starving themselves, or eating very little to lose extreme amounts of weight (Anorexia Nervosa). There are other types of eating disorders in which the person feels the overwhelming urge to eat double, or even triple the calories they need per day, this is called Binge Eating Disorder. There are approximately 30 million Americans who suffer from an eating disorder. Every 62 minutes at least one person dies from an eating disorder.

Let’s start off by getting one thing straight, I am not anorexic, bulimic, nor do I have any eating disorder at all.  Just because I am skinnier than most, or the fact that my ribs show does not mean that I have a disease. I have always been skinnier than my friends, but for some reason once I got older, people feel the need to point out that I look too skinny, my ribs show, or just flat out ask if I’m anorexic. I have an extremely fast working metabolism, meaning that food goes through my body at an insane pace. Which also means that I have to eat a lot more than the average person, but I don’t gain any excess weight from it. It has its perks, but it also can be pretty terrible at times. I get sick easily from not staying hydrated or eating something every few hours, I also get very pale and weak, which can lead to me passing out. My ribs typically show so wearing a bathing suit during the summer definitely isn’t my favorite thing in the world. Finding jeans that fit in the waist but also fit my long legs is pretty hard. Also if I have to get numbed for anything I have to get lots of shots because it wears away within minutes, when it’s supposed to last hours.  I can’t imagine someone who actually has this disease, and also have to put up with people’s ignorance too.

Having an eating disorder is actually way more common in women than it is men. 20 million American women have this disease, while only 10 million men have it. Women usually start in teenage years and often occur with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Eating disorders can lead to heart and kidney problems and in some cases, death. Getting help early is important. Treatment involves monitoring, talk therapy, nutritional counseling, and sometimes medicines. Eating disorders are categorized as mental illnesses where there is an unhealthy relationship with food. People with eating disorders often struggle with body image and disrupts their normal activities with unusual eating habits to alter their appearance. Eating disorders can be genetic or caused by psychological issues like coping skills, control issues, trauma, family trouble, or social issues. Each type of eating disorder has many possible causes. A mere 10% of people with eating disorders receive treatment, and of those only 35% seek treatment from a facility that specializes in eating disorders.

Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating disorder is a huge problem in our nation today. It continues to take many young lives every hour. Many who have it may never receive the help they need, which can lead to depression, and suicidal thoughts and actions. So next time you see that one girl who you think is just too skinny, will you have the nerve to ask if she is anorexic?




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A No Laughing Matter