Let’s be honest, we’re all self-conscious – at least to some degree. We’re a culture that glorifies beauty and idealizes perfection. We hold pageants to crown young beautiful women Miss (City), Miss (State), Miss America, Miss World, and even Miss Universe. We turn models into celebrities.
We digitally alter photographs of beautiful people to make them look even more impossibly beautiful. We are a culture that holds beauty in high esteem. We obsess with our appearance before we go on job interviews, first dates, and a trip to the mall. We resolve every January to start exercising and eating better – and then we lose our nerve at the prospect of being judged in the gym for not being in-shape enough. We are all self-conscious. But what happens when simply being self-conscious turns into something else. What happens when the preoccupation of being thin begins to take over your thoughts, your eating habits, and your life? It’s the sign of an eating disorder. When a person suffers from Anorexia, the desire to lose weight becomes more important than anything else. You lose the ability to see yourself as you truly are.
What is Anorexia?
Anorexia is another serious eating disorder that plagues our society in its attempt to lose a lot of weight quickly. Anorexia occurs when a person becomes so obsessive over their weight that he or she becomes phobic of gaining even a pound. The three key features of anorexia include:
- Refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
- An intense fear of gaining weight
- A distorted body image
The need to be skinny eventually takes over a person’s life, if they have anorexia. The person will obsess over when they can eat, what they should eat, if they shouldn’t eat, or if they gained a pound. A person with anorexia will usually lose touch with friends and family, not participate in hobbies or social situations they once enjoyed.
Eventually, anorexia becomes like any other addiction. Once the person begins seeing results stemming from their dieting, they can’t stop. They will never be as skinny as they want to be.
Signs & Symptoms: Am I Anorexic?
Generally speaking, anorexia has little, if anything, to do with achieving an “ideal weight” or consuming as little food as possible. In fact, anorexia has more to do with control, depression, loneliness, etc. Any one of these mental diseases or extreme emotions can cause a person to become anorexic, or develop another eating disorder. For instance, if a girl feels as if she is losing control of a relationship, she may become anorexic because she thinks, “If I can’t control my relationship, I can at least control what I eat and what I weigh.” However, any amount of victory felt when losing a pound or not eating for a certain amount of time is very short-lived.
Some general factors that can put a person at risk of developing an eating disorder are:
- Body dissatisfaction
- Strict dieting
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty expressing feelings
- Troubled family relationships
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Family history of eating disorder
These are just a few of the factors, and there are many more that could lead to the development of an eating disorder. Other signs and symptoms could be lying about eating, a fixation on body image, and using diet pills or laxatives.
How Do I Get Help?
Getting help for an eating disorder is similar to seeking help for a substance abuse problem. The first step is always admitting that you have a problem and that you need to find a way to fix the problem, then you need to talk to someone. You can talk to anyone, whether it be a professional who is familiar with eating disorders, or a friend whom you consider to be a good listener. Don’t associate yourself with people or things that could remind you of the feelings that cause you to develop the disorder, and the finally, seek professional help.
If you or a loved one is showing signs or symptoms of anorexia, it is important that you find professional help. An eating disorder is not something that can be fixed automatically without a treatment program and other addictions may develop the longer the disorder goes untreated, putting yourself or your loved one at risk. Call Serenity Acres today and speak with a professional immediately.