When I was a teenager, people were just starting to learn about anorexia.
I didn’t have an eating disorder, I ate whatever I wanted. But at 5-foot-9 and 110 pounds, I heard a lot about it. People worried that I didn’t eat enough, that I was depressed, or tossing my cookies to stay thin.
I didn’t take it lightly. I had a cousin that died of complications from anorexia, and I didn’t think the jokes were funny.
Doing some research, I discovered that in cultures where people don’t put an emphasis on being thin, anorexia basically does not exist. And in cultures where it does, it affects young girls more than any other population. We put so much pressure on teen girls that it affects their mental health.
Anorexia is a mental disorder in which the person limits their intake of food, exercises excessively, and has a distorted view of their weight. They can be a perfectly healthy weight, but think that they are fat.
Bulimia is another eating disorder that causes people to eat excessively, then fast, vomit or use laxatives to get rid of the calories.
Other types of eating disorders are binge eating, pica (eating non-food items like soap, ice, chalk, hair, wool, stones, laundry detergent), rumination disorder (regurgitating food and eating it again), avoidant/restrictive food intake (not eating food because of smell, texture, color), purging or night eating (people who eat excessively after waking in the middle of the night).
People with eating disorders need professional help and understanding.
By Amanda Rogers for Surepoint Medical Centers
Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas
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