Nowadays, the world is more aware of eating disorders that have been stretching on for many generations than in the past; anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating are just a few examples of disorders that are prevalently treated today for both men and women. However, our awareness doesnâ€™t prevent eating disorders from continuing on. There are many factors that provoke eating disordersâ€”both environmental and mental triggersâ€”that are especially hard for our society to maintain.
Today, especially in America, being skinny is seen as beautiful, even if that requires body weight to fall 15-20% below average. The idea of â€œSkinnyâ€ is incorporated into sports, advertising, fashion, entertainment, and almost every niche of our daily lives. Because a lot of the American population is immersed in material life, the mental outcomes of the â€œideal bodyâ€ can be taken to extremes. Many girls and boys follow the footsteps of models and actors/actresses, eating barely anything and dieting to the point of severe malnutrition. Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston and Isabelle Caro both died because of Anorexia. In fashion, we see the requirement for models to weigh around 15% less than an average person, which also falls into the â€˜unhealthyâ€™ category. Sports, such as ballet and ice skating require weight limitations as well (ballet is known to spur a massive amount anorexic men and women), mainly because thinness is seen as a form of elegance and beauty.
But eating disorders donâ€™t occur just for the sensation of feeling beautiful; a lot of the time, bulimia and anorexia occur for a personâ€™s need to be in control. For depressed or abused people, the ability to keep from eating glorifies the idea of being in control of their life and their body. A raped woman explained she developed anorexia because of her need to be in control over her body. Similarly, anorexia (and bulimia) also develops from parental mistreatment (violence) or bullying or substance abuse. Many teenagers develop anorexia or bulimia because they have some sort of conflict with their parents, and they see the lack of nutritional intake as a form of revengeâ€”I remember I used to do it too. Of course, the body can only have so much control before the disorder begins to affect the mind.
Binge eating, however, is seen as a form of lack of control. People who suffer from excessive amounts of stress or extreme depression comfort themselves with copious amounts of food. The body eventually adapts to the regular intake of heavy nutrition to the point that the body begins to accept the normalcy.
Eating disorders are hard to treat. People relapse, bodies relapse, and minds relapse. Itâ€™s a constant struggle to inform the body and the mind to eat a healthy amount. Itâ€™s even more difficult if society doesnâ€™t consider some of these eating disorders actual mental and physical problems. There is a good portion of the nation that seeâ€™s anorexia as a fashionable disorder to have. Itâ€™s seen as a trend. If you search up the right tags on Instagram, youâ€™ll find women and men competing on how much weight they lost in a week.
So I ask you this question that I hope you will think about: how can we learn to fight anorexia if itâ€™s socially accepted?