In the 20th and 21st centuries, the idea of the “perfect body” is one that is slender, disproportionate, and in general, unhealthy. This woman is portrayed in most forms of visual media. These pictures are everywhere, and it’s difficult for people to differentiate between that and reality. Studying how the media affects body image, making people feel like they are the Worst Person on the Planet, and specifically, the eating disorders that may result from those effects, is important. The media has a lot more power in regards to eating disorders than society is willing to admit.
When someone struggles with an eating disorder, they take a healthy concern for their weight to an extreme, developing abnormal eating habits that threaten their well-being, and even their lives. Ninety percent of people who struggle with eating disorders are females, specifically adolescents.
The American Psychological Association (APA) classifies three diseases as eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorders. Anorexia Nervosa, often referred to as Anorexia, is a disorder where, no matter how small the person suffering from the disorder gets, he (she) always perceives himself(herself) as overweight. This causes the person to develop unhealthy eating habits that may include, but are not limited to, exercising excessively, refusing to eat in front of others, and/or not eating at all.
Bulimia is also referred to as “bingeing and purging.” Bulimics will eat excessively (or “binge”) and then will rid their bodies of the calories and fat that they are afraid of. This “cleansing” is done by way of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or by causing themselves to vomit. The excess calories make them panic, and feel ashamed of themselves, and by getting rid of the calories, they are relieved of this stress. Binge Eaters struggle with binge eating as well, but, unlike bulimics, they do not purge their bodies of the calories. This is also referred to as compulsive overeating.
It is estimated that over 8 million people struggle with some form of eating disorder. These eating disorders may potentially result in death. Out of the hundreds of psychiatric disorders diagnosed by the DSM-IV, anorexia has the highest death rate, and is the most chronic eating disorder. These deaths are usually not the result of the eating disorder itself, but instead are from suicide or malnutrition complications.
But, if you’re struggling with these, you are not a bad person. As a matter of fact, you are just in a position where you may need to get some help in order to ensure that you’re getting the best results for whatever it is that you may be trying to do in your life. Getting help with these things and seeing what you can find for help can be a big deal, and it’s well worth it to figure out what is going on and why it could be a big deal to learn the best way to take care of your body and your mind.