What Does It Mean to Have an Eating Disorder?

Too many people are dying to be thin.

By Emily Hawkins, Staff Writer

Eating disorders have been taking over young lives for decades. There are millions of boys and girls out in the world that cannot control how they view themselves and how they eat. But what exactly is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are mental illnesses that can affect people of all ages, from children to the elderly.

While eating disorders are very serious and often fatal, they are treatable. The most common cases are anorexia nervosa, where the person tries to starve themselves in an attempt to lose weight, and bulimia nervosa where the person binges and purges, and about %3 of American women suffer from these two alone.

But bulimia and anorexia are not the only types of eating disorders. Other cases include rumination syndrome, muscle dysmorphia, and diabulimia. Rumination syndrome is an under diagnosed chronic disorder shown through the almost effortless regurgitation of food, almost right after eating; this is done by the involuntary contraction of the stomach. There is also muscle dysmorphia, which is actually the complete opposite of anorexia nervosa. Muscle dysmorphia has the person its effecting be worried about being too small and frail, and believe that they’re muscles are not adequate enough. People with muscle dysmorphia are completely fixated on resistance training, lifting weights, and taking steroids or other muscle building drugs, despite the fatal side affects. Lastly, there is diabulimia, which is a condition that is specific to people with diabetes. Diabulimia  is when a person with Type 1 diabetes gives themselves less insulin than they need on purpose, in order to lose weight. Diabulimia is not currently recognized as an official diagnosis by health officials.

Eating disorders are a very, very serious matter that more than often ends in death. You can tell if you or a loved one has one if you notice a very dramatic weight loss, is very preoccupied with exercise and how many calories they are consuming, or denying ever feeling hungry. If you or anyone else you know are showing these signs, please tell a parent, counselor, or doctor, or call 1-800-931-2237.