There was a time where I saved someone's life. The girl was in school, went home for a semester, and came back. I was a resident assistant at the time. I noticed she withdrew from everyone. When she ate there was only a few carrots on her plate. I had dreams about her passing away. Her fingers seemed so long, and she lost a ton of weight all over. I turned her story in to her resident assistant, the director, and finally the school phycologist. The school phycologist was the only one that helped. She thanked me, because if she went on much longer she would have been dead. I have no if she got through treatment. I hope she did!
A very common cause of eating disorders is outside pressure from society. For decades, unrealistic expectations of beauty or what is considered to be healthy has been promoted through various forms of media. Models in fashion magazines and movie stars have spent hours sitting in makeup artists chairs and having their hair styled to appear flawless. Their images are almost always edited to remove any perceived blemish, creating an image of beauty that in reality does not exist. This has only been made worse with people editing their photos and posting them on social media, perhaps even slightly embellishing their efforts to live a healthy lifestyle, too. All of these pressures can make a person feel inadequate, and this is what can result in an eating disorder.
They might not only feel this way because of the images they see in the media, either. It could also be someone commenting on their weight, telling them that they are too fat or too skinny. If this is something that is happening fairly regularly, eventually that person might start to believe it, even if it isn’t true.
Dealing with depression and low self-esteem can also play a part in someone developing an eating disorder, and these negative mindsets can be incredibly dominant and lead to worries over body image. Post-traumatic stress is another mental health issue that is commonly connected with eating disorders. It might be used as a form of control for an individual who feels like they have lost it in the other aspects of their life, and this might make them feel more empowered. It’s very important to explore a patient’s mental health if they have an eating disorder, and through eating disorder therapy, counsellors can help patients get to the root cause of the problem for more effective treatment and hopefully lasting rehabilitation.
It is rare, but in some cases, a patient with an eating disorder might also be able to identify other family members who have struggled or are struggling with the same problem. There isn’t a lot of data to reflect genetic eating disorders, and this might be because a lot of people don’t come forward if they do have one because of the stigma that is attached to it. However, this might have a part to play in some cases of eating disorders and is something that should be considered.
If you are concerned that a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, try to do some research into this further to better understand the causes and the symptoms so you can provide them with better support. If you think you have an eating disorder, speak to your doctor to ask for help and treatment options.