Description and intro

81% of 10 year old girls are scared of becoming fat  and 46% of all 9-11 year old girls are already on diets. Eating disorders. It is a big, very real problem for everyone. Many people don’t think about them or think that it’s just when you decide to eat more or less than usual but it is so much more than that. Eating disorders are addictions. You’re not choosing to eat or not to eat, you have an addiction to doing one or another. Both types of disorders are usually connected with Bulimia nervosa. You might be wondering what this is, well Bulimia nervosa is a series of vomiting and Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder when you have a very low body weight and have a fear of gaining any weight at all. When eating too much your body can’t handle it so they get it out of your system and when not eating you get very nauseous and your body needs food to function. Some people who have eating disorders also make themselves throw up right after they eat so that they don’t gain any weight from it.  

What interested me

I started learning more about eating disorders at the beginning of this school year. I’ve met many people who have had eating disorders in the past but I started learning more about it when I read a book called “Stick Figure” and this is what really interested me. Stick figure was about a little girl who was in 6th grade named Lori. Lori developed an eating disorder throughout the book and it really showed how even though she was still a kid and very young she still managed to get an eating disorder and have to go through everything to become healthy again. In the beginning of the book her mother would always tell her to eat healthier or stop eating so much and at first she ignored her but as she kept saying it more and more she started to listen to what she was saying, she went from eating as much as she wanted, to barely eating, to eating nothing at all. She dieted and always thought/ worried about food and it got to a point where she needed to go to the hospital. During this time her parents were not supportive and she felt very alone. After being in the hospital for a long time and after giving the nurses the hardest time about everything she needed to do she was allowed to go to one dinner with her family as a reward. When she went to the dinner she went to the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror (this was the first time in months she looked at herself because the hospital took mirrors away from her) and realized that this wasn’t who she wanted to be. Lori could barely recognize herself and thought she was going to look so much better after all of this but she realized that she’s only gotten worse. 

Mindset, what environment influences it

As I said above, an eating disorder is a very complicated addiction and one of your questions may be how do people even get an eating disorder? You can get an eating disorder from being very insecure about yourself and wanting to look different or you can get one from having a mental illness for example anxiety. You get very stressed out and some people like to cope with their stress by binge eating. All of these factors cause eating disorders but one of the biggest ones in the type of environment you are in. Let’s say you are in a very calm and safe environment and you have very supportive friends and family who always tell you how proud they are of you. If you have an environment like that then your chances of getting an eating disorder from that cause are pretty low but let’s say your environment is nothing like that. You don’t have supportive family and friends and they are constantly making fun of you, making comments about your body, showing they don’t care and constantly saying that you’re not good enough. If your environment is like this then your chance of getting an eating disorder is much higher. 

Addiction

Now my article is mostly just about eating disorders but eating disorders also can sometimes lead into addiction. When having an eating disorder you can become addicted to losing weight, not eating, eating a lot etc. This is why it is so hard to treat because you can’t just simply stop because it has now become an addiction. When having an addiction connected with an eating disorder, it becomes your routine and every single day you do this routine  You can be addicted to really anything like drugs or for example if addiction ever occurs during your eating disorder you can be addicted to wanting to always be skinny so you constantly make sure your not eating or eating the least amount of calories you can. The human brain is wired to reward us when we do something pleasurable. Exercising, eating etc are directly linked to our survival and trigger the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. This encourages us to keep repeating what we’re doing because it feels good and teaches our brain to repeat the behavior. Drugs trigger the same part of the brain( the reward system). For example if you use drugs your brain releases a lot of dopamine and this process tells the brain that this is ok and that you should repeat and remember this behavior. Addiction can happen to anyone no matter what your background is like.

Prevention

Eating disorders will always be hard to treat and prevent but there are some ways to make this process a little easier. First, you need to learn about them. If you care about the person you are trying to help and want them to get better you need to research what it is  and what they are going through. When trying to prevent them you need to know about it so that you know the signs on it so you know if you are having these signs or someone around you is having these signs. Moving on, to try and prevent this from happening you need to be a positive role model and realize and teach other people that health comes in all shapes and sizes, show that you take the time to eat and avoid calling unhealthy foods junk food. Lastly, during this whole process you need to make sure that you are very gentle and understanding and always let them know that you are there for them no matter what. For example, when I suspected that one of my family members had an eating disorder I approached the situation very calmly and made sure this person knew I was there for them during this process. 

WORK CITED

The book Skinny

The book Stick Figure 

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-causes-eating-disorders-4121047
https://uhs.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/bewell_whtcnudo.pdf
https://www.shatterproof.org/learn/addiction-basics/science-of-addiction#:~:text=It%
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Rymere
April 3, 2024 2:10 pm

i think eating disorders are just as bad as any drug addiction.

December 13, 2023 5:19 pm

Dear Vivi,’
Your post made me think about how eating disorders affect a lot of men and women. People are more self-cautious now because of how the worldviews are the most beautiful women or hottest men. Something I wonder is how can the world’s view change to help all people with eating disorders and bring more attention to the problem.

Sincerely,
Hilary

November 27, 2023 8:20 pm

Dear Vivi,
Your post made me feel sympathetic towards the people who still see food as the enemy because as an athlete food is considered fuel for your body. An eating disorder can be very damaging to the way your body function. Being an athlete my body image always concerns me because I have tough criticsm on the way my body looks or how fast my body can move. Something I wonder is how can we move past this as a society for all people not just athletes.

September 15, 2023 3:27 am

Dear Vivi,

I feel personally affected by your article when food becomes the enemy because iv myself have once battled the idea that food is my enemy. As someone who was once overweight, I had a personal connection because I became very self-conscious and wouldn’t eat to the point my parents believed I had an eating disorder. This sentence really stands out to me, “…eating disorders also can sometimes lead to addiction.” I think it is not only intruiging because I felt I had personally gone through addiction after dealing with the problems that came with the eating disorder. Thank you for writing, I really look forward to seeing what you talk about next because I wanna know what the next steps you took were. I personally still feel affected to this day, so I am wondering, am I alone in that?

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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