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Breaking Away from the Danger of Eating Disorders

February 27, 2018

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Monday kicked off the start of Eating Disorder Awareness Week, February 26th - Sunday, March 4th, 2018. In honor of this Dear Dish-It’s, “Let’s Talk About it Tuesday” will be addressing questions and concerns regarding body image and eating disorders, which is a very serious issue that affects many kids and teens. Statics show that 50% of teenage girls and 30% percent of teenage boys use unhealthy weight habits. Eating disorder are extremely dangerous and can be fatal. They hold the great fatality rates than any other mental illness, which is why it is so important that we spread awareness and influence people to get help. Currently, a very low percentage of kids and teens are getting help with their eating disorders and this is a vast concern. If you know someone suffering from an eating disorder or you are suffering from one, I highly encourage you to seek the proper help and support for your illness.

Let’s Take a Look at This Week’s Questions:

February 26th kicked off Eating Disorder Awarness Week.February 26th kicked off Eating Disorder Awarness Week.

Question by Giving Up

Hi, so here is the thing. I'm about to say something I can't bring myself to admitting to anyone. I have 2 eating disorders and I want to commit suicide. I have anorexia and bulimia, where I don't eat and then I gag. I have been planning on ways to kill myself because I can't find another reason. My friends have been leaving me for people who are better than me, and I'm not really the person that people talk to in class because I'm the shy outcast. My parents have been fighting as well. I have cut my arms for years, because I don't like who I am and I just wish I can be skinny and pretty like anyone else. Please help me I don't know what to do. I don't feel as if anyone will miss me when I'm gone and really I'm writing this to get it off my chest. I can't take it anymore and I'm giving up. I don't want people to pity me or tell me to go to the hospital for my disorders or therapy for how I feel. Please respond.

Insight/Advice:

Suicide literally takes your pain and passes it on to someone else. I know you think that no one will care if you are no longer around, but you are wrong. You are loved. When you are feeling this way you need to reach out and talk to someone or ask for help. The truth is with your dual eating disorders, you are killing yourself slowly. Eating disorders are fatal and Anorexia has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness. You might be surprised to hear that eating disorders are mental illnesses, but they are. You likely feel like everything else in your life is chaos, and eating disorders are a way of gaining control over it all. Cutting is never the solution. It’s not your fault if other people are causing you pain. Don’t take it out on yourself. What you’ve described to me is very concerning. I am worried about your mental and physical health. Despite your desire to go to a hospital and get help, you need the help. Please consider it because it’s your life that is at risk.

Don't be in denial about your illness. Don't be in denial about your illness.

Question by GamerGurl

I have recently just got over anorexia when my boyfriend dumped me because of it. he gave me the kick that I needed so I went to the hospital and got support there until I recovered. When I got out of the hospital and returned to school I found out that my ex-boyfriend had told his friends and it had gotten around the whole school! It isn't that no one likes me anymore it's that everyone does and they all look at me differently now, how do I make it stop and let them know that I'm still the same person as before?

Insight/Advice:

You simply need to tune them out and carry on. Eventually, they will see that you are no different than them. Right now they are acting this way because they think something is wrong with you, but it’s not your fault you have an illness. People have a hard time accepting difference. It’s like the elephant in the room, but you’re not, that’s just the way they are reacting. The right people will come around and realize that they should never judge you for having an illness. Try to hang in there. Be strong and don’t let this defeat you. Things are changing all the time and trust me, this too shall pass.

Eating disorders make you lack self-awareness. Eating disorders make you lack self-awareness.

Question by Anorexic Chick

I think I have some anorexic problems. I do not eat dinner and breakfast, and all the people said that I am Super skinny, but I think I am super fat. I weight 42.3, I measure 1.55 and I am 11! Please Help Me

Insight/Advice:

Not only would I say that you suffer from anorexia, but you also suffer from orthorexia, which is the obsession with maintaining a healthy idea and staying skinny. When you have an eating disorder you lack self-awareness. You see yourself in a way that is not accurate. All these people are telling you that your so skinny, they are the naked eye, and likely right. Instead, you ignore these observations and insist on telling yourself that you are fat. I could just tell you to stop doing that, but it’s not that simple. You are sick and have a mental illness. These self-observations are in your head, and you are working hard to find control in your life. You need to talk to your parents about what is going on. Your health is at stake. As mentioned, Anorexia has the highest fatality rate than any other mental illness. You are slowly killing yourself. Talking to your parents is the first step towards getting help. Parental involvement has been proven to play a big factor in recovery. You need to establish a sense of security, which will build self-esteem and enhance self-care. It will also better regulate your emotions and reduce any self-harming behaviors. Work towards loving and caring for yourself, and this includes eating right. You can’t skip two meals a day. You need to be good to your body, but you can’t do it alone. You need to seek help and immediately. You are only 11 years old, deal with this now before it really starts to get out of hand.

Stay off the scale and don't worry about the numbers.Stay off the scale and don't worry about the numbers.

Question by scared

In about October last year, I got sick, not like deadly sick. I didn't eat much that week like I skipped meals and stuff but my parents didn't mind because they knew I was sick. Not only did I not eat much but I had lots of sports going on; I had basketball finals and state athletics which meant lots of training. In that like 2 weeks my stomach had shrunk a lot and after that, I started getting body conscious. I didn't eat as much and I still don't plus I do lots of physical activity. I'm scared I'm going through the stages of anorexia. For breakfast, I only eat 1 weet-bix and on school days I usually skip lunch. I don't want to be anorexic but it's just I don't want to get fatter than I already am. I'm 5'7 and I weigh 53kg. Help

Insight/Advice:

Firstly, you need to remove the word “fat” from your vocabulary. Whether you chose to believe me or not, you are not fat. Signs point to the reality that you are anorexic. You should not be skipping meals or obsessing about your weight. It’s like I said earlier, those who suffer from eating disorders don’t have self-awareness. They see themselves as fat when they truly aren’t. I’m worried about your health, and I think you need some help with this pressing issue. Talk to your parents and let them know what is going on. Don’t play it cool, be as honest as possible. This provides a secure support system, which will help build your self-esteem. I think this is really important for you because you sound far too hard on yourself. Please seek treatment, I know it’s not easy, but it’s your life at stake. 

Question by bellyflop221

I think that I am suffering from an eating disorder called bulimia nervosa. I have read articles about it on the internet and all the symptoms seem to be exactly what I have. I don't want to tell anyone because I'm not sure that they would believe me. What can I do?

Insight/Advice:

The first thing you need to do is tell someone. Talk to your parents. This is real, very real and if they don’t believe you I would be shocked. Be as open and honest as possible, tell them everything. Tell them that it is torturing you. I can tell that you are concerned for yourself. So many people with eating disorders are in denial, but you seem like you’ve accepted the fact that you are sick. This is the first step, and now you need to get the proper help. Bulimia is a combination of binge eating followed by purging and it is potentially life-threatening. It only takes one single purge to throw off the electrolytes in the body and cause cardiac arrest. It’s your life on the line. You need to make a move, and if someone doesn’t believe you, keep reaching out for help until someone does. If it means anything, I believe you and really hope you get the help that you deserve.

Don't be afraid to ask for help because you need it.Don't be afraid to ask for help because you need it.

Afterthoughts

Eating Disorders are very serious, and when untreated can cause a fatality. As mentioned they hold the strongest fatality rate over any other mental illness. Anorexia has the highest fatality rate of them all. It has been estimated that 4% of anorexic individuals die from the complications of the disease, and only one-third of people with anorexia nervosa in the US get treatment. With bulimia, 4% of females have it. 3.9% of these patients die, and only 6% of these people seek treatment. With binge eating disorder 5.2% die from health complications. 43% of people with BED will seek treatment.

1 million males in the US and 10 million females are affected. 4/10 have experienced an eating disorder or knows someone who has. 2.7 of teens (13-18) struggle with an eating disorder. Over 50% of teenage girls and 33% of teenage boys use restrictive measures to lose weight at any given time. 46% of 9-11-year-olds diet and a large percentage of their families also diet.

Eating disorder are very dangerous.Eating disorder are very dangerous.

Warning Signs to Look For:

  • Skipping meals
  • Fasting
  • Vomiting
  • Taking laxatives
  • Binge eating
  • Purging
  • Excessive obsession with exercise
  • Eating in secret
  • Food obsessions (making food to be around it but not eating it)
  • Calorie counting
  • Constant worry or fear of becoming fat
  • Phobias of food and food avoidance

How to Support Someone With An Eating Disorder

  • Understand the situation at hand and know what you are dealing with
  • Make the person feel safe and like they can talk to you
  • Be Kind and don’t judge
  • Be supportive

There is a lot of grey area of what causes eating disorders, but a lot of psychologists would say it has to do with trying to find control in a life of chaos. There is also the reality that people think they are fat, lack self-awareness and become obsessed with being thin.

Regardless, eating disorders are a very serious and dangerous matter that needs our immediate attention.

You can find control in your life without starving yourself.You can find control in your life without starving yourself.

Helplines & Resources: 

  • TeenMentalHealth.org
  • KidsHealth - A safe, private place for kids & teens who need honest, accurate information and advice about health, emotions, and life.
  • Teen Line - A helpline for kids and teens to work through their personal issues and mental health as needed.  1-800-TLC-TEEN or 1-800-852-8336 (Toll-Free US & Canada).
  • Mind Infoline – Information on self-harm and a helpline to call in the UK at 0300 123 3393 or text 86463.
  • Kids Help Phone – Free, anonymous and bilingual helpline for young people in Canada, available 24/7 by phone, Live Chat, and the Always There chat app for any issue, including self-injury and suicide. Call 1-800-668-6868 or visit kidshelpphone.ca.
  • Kids Helpline – A helpline for kids and young adults in Australia to get help with issues including cutting and self-harm. Call 1800 55 1800. (Kids Helpline).

Interested in getting in touch with Dear Dish-It?

Simply email deardish@kidzworld.com with your concern, and we will address you on “Let’s Talk about it Tuesday” if your question is suitable for our topic of conversation. Regardless, keep your eyes peeled as Dear Dish-It it is covering a lot of issues, and you never know when your question or topic of concern will be featured in an article. Please let us know if you would like your handle to be listed as anonymous and list your age in your question if you would like as that can impact advice. To learn the Do's and Don'ts of Dear Dish-It, and to find out what kind of questions are appropriate, check out this article!

Have Your Say

Have you ever had issues with eating? How did you deal with it? Comment below.