Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are common problems in the UK. Most sufferers tend to be young teenage girls, but the reality is that eating disorders can affect both males and females of all ages.
World Eating Disorder Day that took place on June 2nd, 2016 looked to highlight the dangers of this growing problem. Sufferers, parents, carers and professionals all come together to emphasise the need for better care and treatment and to educate people on the benefits of early intervention when it comes to treating this devastating illness.
In the past three years, the number of young people admitted to hospital for an eating disorder has risen by one hundred per cent, and in light of this, health experts say that more needs to be done to highlight the issue. World Eating Disorder Day does just that.
The term eating disorder automatically brings to mind an image of a waif-like girl who has been starving herself. Anorexia is probably the most well-known eating disorder, but there are some other categories that also have a devastating impact on those affected as well as to the people who love them.
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that commonly goes unnoticed for long periods because those affected tend to maintain a stable weight. They go through periods of binge eating but, by purging themselves, they rarely gain weight. Purging means vomiting or taking laxatives to rid themselves of the food they have eaten. Some bulimia sufferers will exercise for hours to avoid putting on weight after a binge eating episode.
However, many people do not realise that eating disorders are not just about restricting food. Some individuals with an unhealthy relationship with food, binge eat without purging themselves. Binge eating disorder sufferers eat large quantities of food in one sitting while many will continue to gorge themselves despite not being hungry. Some will continue to eat until they feel physically sick.
Eating disorders are mental health problems, with most of those affected suffering from low self-esteem and body confidence issues. Sadly, eating disorders can lead to a host of physical health problems, and in extreme cases, can be fatal.
Overcoming Eating Disorders
It can be very difficult to overcome an eating disorder, particularly since many go unnoticed for many years. Those who suffer from low self-esteem and issues regarding their body image find it very hard to change, but one former anorexic is speaking out in the hope of getting more people to learn how to love themselves.
Megan Jayne Crabbe wants people to start loving their bodies and says that in an age of selfies and filters, nobody really knows ‘what real bodies look like anymore’. She added, “Real as in RAW, unedited, un-posed, un-airbrushed, REAL. Bodies from all angles, not just the most ‘flattering’ ones.”
She has posted two side-by-side images of herself to make her point with one image showing her standing tall with flat abs. The other image depicts stomach rolls as she curls herself in a sitting position. In relation to the photos, she said, “Our ideas about bodies are so warped that most people would praise the girl on the left and condemn the girl on the right, without realizing that we’re one and the same. Well, I’ve worked damn hard to love the body in both these pictures, and I won’t let the world paint my unique features as flaws to be fixed. So this is my message to you – you are worthy of self-love at any angle. You are beautiful posed or not.”
Megan Jayne has had to overcome her own eating disorder in order to get to this way of thinking. She was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of fourteen and, at one point, she weighed just four-and-a-half stone and was being tube fed in hospital. She said, “I was trapped in a mental prison of calorie counting and exercise addiction.”
Megan Jayne overcame her anorexia at the age of sixteen, but it took her another five years before she learned to really love herself. She said she was browsing Instagram when she came across an online community of people ‘unapologetically loving themselves’. She added, “Before then, I had never realized that there was an alternative to starvation diets and self-hatred.”
She now uses her blog and Instagram account to help others and said that messages she receives from those in recovery from eating disorders mean the world to her. She went on to say, “Knowing I’ve created something that helps those people makes everything I went through feel worth something.”
Treatment for Eating Disorders
Early intervention is critical when it comes to successfully treating eating disorders, but there are a number of obstacles to this, not the least of which is the fact that many sufferers are adept at hiding their illness for a long time. There is also a significant problem regarding waiting lists, especially when it comes to NHS treatment.
The good news is that there are a number of private organisations around the UK offering specialist treatment to those affected by various eating disorders, including binge eating disorder, bulimia, and anorexia. For more information, contact us here at Addiction Helper today.
Sources: Huffington Post