Blog of the Month, February: Eating Disorders - By: Fiona Cardamone
Updated: Feb 13
Today, body image is something that almost every person struggles with. Social media, societal standards, the idea of an “ideal body” often create pressure that leads to eating disorders. Oftentimes, these pressures develop in the adolescent stage. Research has shown that 95% of those who do have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. The fact that eating disorders develop at such a young age makes individuals more susceptible to carry that eating disorder into adulthood.
The most common eating disorders are Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating. Below are some facts about each eating disorder.
Starvation due to the fear of gaining weight and/or believing one is much larger than they appear
Leads to rapid weight loss through lack of eating and/or excessive exercise
Food obsession may lead to weighing food, calorie counting, or careful portioning
More common in females but does occur in males as well
Episodes of binging and purging, usually through self-induced vomiting, but can also be done through diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, or excessive exercise
Often develops in teens and young adults
May have an intense fear of gaining weight or have a distorted body image
Episodes of extreme overeating
Brings guilt post-episode, which creates a vicious cycle of binging
Common at all ages
Although eating disorders are commonly associated with women, especially young women, all genders fall victim to eating disorders. Men are often left undiagnosed when it comes to eating disorders due to a social construct that has brought shame towards self-depreciation. Although research has shown that 10-15% of those diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia are male, the number of men with eating disorders is likely much higher than the statistical claim.
Temple University’s Tuttleman Counseling Services offers educational articles, hotlines (1-800-RENFREW), and a partnership with the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), which allows students to go to support group meetings free of charge. It is important that if you or anyone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, that they get help immediately. Without proper treatment, many of these conditions lead to serious health risks. All eating disorders can be treated, and recovery can be reached through many outlets. Treatment ranges from nutrition counseling, therapy, support groups, and medication if deemed necessary. The most important part of recovery is eliminating thoughts or behaviors that could lead to relapse. It’s important nowadays, in a society dominated by body image, that people realize that their individuality is what makes them unique. Whether help starts by speaking to a friend or a hotline, it is important to get it when necessary.