There is no doubt that our society puts loads of pressure on the shoulders of young women by establishing almost unattainable ideals of beauty. Some young women struggle to get noticed and push themselves to unhealthy lengths in their attempt to be thin. Their constant preoccupation with body weight can become an obsession and lead some young women develop eating disorders.
Eating disorders are serious illnesses that may even lead to death. These disorders are mental conditions characterized by unhealthy behavior, scarce eating and obsession with being overweight. Anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa) is one of the most common and the most dangerous eating disorders
Anorexia affects persons of all ages and regardless of sex. However, young women are more susceptible to developing anorexia, due to their desire to fit into society’s preconceived notion of beauty as being a rail-thin model. Young women that have careers where a slim body is a necessity (gymnasts, models, dancers) are also susceptible to developing an eating disorder. Women with anorexia eat very little food and sometimes even restrain themselves from eating any food at all. Abstinence from food leads to serious complications, and women with anorexia often develop other diseases due to their unhealthy eating habits. The lack of vital nutrients triggers a lot of changes inside the bodies of anorexics, making them feel weak, tired, anxious, confused and psychically unstable.
Women with anorexia also experience slowed growth, stomach aches, migraines, heart problems, bad circulation of the blood, hair loss and dehydration. Inappropriate eating habits cause hormonal unbalances and women with anorexia often suffer from amenorrhea. This condition refers to irregular menstruation, or the absence of menstruation altogether due to small levels of estrogen. Amenorrhea often leads to weakness of the bones, corrosion of the teeth and fragility of fingernails.
Women with anorexia may have obsessive thoughts about food and being fat. They carefully count the calories they consume and often exhaust themselves by doing long, tiring physical exercises. Despite their efforts t to keep fit and lose weight, women with anorexia are never content with their body weight and physical appearance. They have a distorted perception of their body image and always consider themselves to be fat, even if their body weight is considerably lower than it should be
It is very important to act quickly if you suspect a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder. Women with anorexia are often unaware of the dangers they expose themselves to and most of them deny having a problem. Some women, however, are willing to sacrifice their health and jeopardize their lives only to be admired for their silhouette. Because women with anorexia are usually unable to overcome their illness on their own, they should be provided with plenty of love, support and encouragement from their families and friends.
Anorexics often feel lonely and unhappy and have low self-esteem. By proving to people who suffer from anorexia that low body weight isn’t the most important thing in the world and by showing them that they are unique and beautiful regardless of their physical appearance, you can help them make the first steps towards recovery.