My Eating Disorder is not a Beauty Statement

By: Elaina Schneider (@itsElaina6)

Anorexia is a common mental illness that isn't understood by our society. It's not for attention or a choice. Many people think that individuals choose to do this for attention, but in reality, this is a serious psychiatric illness. This disease affects people both mentally and physically and takes a toll on a person's overall health. It can even cause a fear of food or social events focused around food and lead to extreme isolation and depression. Many people of all different ages, races, genders and cultures can suffer from this disease. The youngest person ever to be diagnosed with anorexia was eight-years-old, and the oldest was seventy-two years old. Males are commonly affected as well.

Symptoms of anorexia include but are not limited to:

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Preoccupation with weight, food and calories
  • Isolating and withdrawal from friends and usual activities
  • Denial of hunger
  • Going long periods of time without food
  • Development of rituals surrounding food and meal times
  • Decrease in physical health

Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness because of the extreme physical consequences. Although treatment is possible, it is not easy nor a fast fix. Many people that suffered from anorexia are still in recovery and will continue to be in some form of it the rest of their lives. Many forms of therapy are used for treatment and include cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, behavior therapy, and group psychotherapy.

Cognitive therapy is talk therapy that focuses on changing a person's thoughts in order to change their behavior and feelings. This along with a mixture of family therapy and group therapy can be very successful. Another type of therapy is art therapy, which has been found to be very helpful. Because anorexia is a deeply rooted in self-image and obsession, letting out those feelings with art brings healing. It can also help people deal with certain feelings and behaviors that could otherwise be difficult to talk about.

Anorexia is not a fashion statement and is not for attention; it is a serious mental illness that is falsely depicted in our society. Being silent about this mental illness is not helping, we need to bring awareness to this disease. Someone you know could be suffering from it and they probably need help. Don’t be afraid to speak up and as for help. You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed when asking for help because sometimes that help could save you or someone else’s life. Don’t let anorexia or any other mental illness stop you from living your life!

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