Eating disorders are extremely common among both young people and adults in our society. However, many people are deeply ashamed or embarrassed of these disorders and cannot bring themselves to deal with the problem or to seek help for it. Often, people convince themselves that they do not actually have a problem or an eating disorder and they are simply “health conscious” or “watching their weight”. If you think that you may have an eating disorder, you must overcome your shame and seek help right away. An eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia can be so harmful that it may lead to irreparable physical damage, or even death.
Sense of Helpness
One of the more common factors that lead to an eating disorder is a sense of helplessness or a lack of control over one’s own life. Many young people who are going through difficult periods in their lives develop eating disorders because it helps them to regain a false sense of control. These people feel that as long as there is something in their life that they can control — i.e. their food intake—that they can ‘keep it together’ or maintain their sanity. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth! Severely limiting your food intake, or forcing yourself to purge your meals, is a very unhealthy and dangerous way to cope with stress and will only lead to further chaos in your life.
Another major factor that can lead to an eating disorder is low self-esteem or depression. Some people develop eating disorders through “punishing” themselves for being too fat or unacceptable in some other way. People who have a low self-image sometimes feel that they do not deserve to eat, or to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. They may try to starve themselves in order to look better, or force themselves to purge their meals because they do not want to gain weight. Again, these coping methods are extremely dangerous and unhealthy!
Talk to someone
The first thing that you should do if you need to address an eating disorder is to talk to someone about it. If you have a close friend or a family member whom you trust, that is a great place to start. Talk to your confidante about your eating disorder and let him/her know that you need help in overcoming your condition. You should also try to seek some professional help from a therapist or a counselor. With a licensed mental health professional, you can start to understand why you have developed an eating disorder in the first place. Then, you can start analyzing how to overcome your eating disorder and lead a healthier, more stable lifestyle. In addition to mental and emotional support, you may also want to consult a physician. Depending on how long you have been suffering from your eating disorder, you may need medical treatment or rehabilitation. You may also need professional advice from a nutritionist or a specialist that specifically deals with eating disorders.
While you may feel scared, depressed or lonely, you must keep this in mind: you are not alone, and you are not crazy or abnormal. You are just a troubled person with a health problem, but you can get help. With the support of your friends and family and the assistance of a doctor or a therapist, you can overcome your disorder and learn how to enjoy food in a healthy way and develop a positive self-image.