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Eating Disorders Can Happen To Anyone

Updated on September 4, 2020

Stopping Bulimia And Other Eating Disorders

Help stop bulimia with education. Speak out and help .
Help stop bulimia with education. Speak out and help . | Source

Who Can Develop An Eating Disorder

Who can develop an eating disorder? Well, the answer may surprise you, because the truth is that anyone at any stage of their life, rich, famous, young, old can develop an eating disorder.

Eating disorders, which is a mental, social illness affects millions of people's lives, sometimes with fatal results. Young women aged fifteen to twenty four who are afflicted with an eating disorder the death rate is the highest.

Although we hear a great deal about young women and eating disorders, the truth is that eating disorders can happen to almost anyone. While it does seem to affect teens and young women more, men, and older women can also suffer from an eating disorder. Surprisingly, eating disorders are also affecting women between the ages of 35 and 65 years of age as well as teens.

For some, their career choice may lead to an eating disorder. Models, athletes, and movie stars are some careers that demand that a person be thin, thus some develop eating disorders in order to pursue these high profile careers.

Society And Eating Disorders

Today, are society is obsessed with being beautiful, and having the perfectly thin body. Our television shows are full of young pretty, thin girls that every girl wants to be just like them. Young and thin women are on the cover of many popular magazines. Rock stars, movie stars, athletes, and models work hard at being thin. This is the image they tell young people they should aspire to be. Peer pressure of society and school are enormous and teenagers can be cruel to others who might be a little overweight. As a result, eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating have become common problems for teens and young people in general.

Bulimia Eating And Purging


Types Of Eating Disorders

  1. Anorexia is the slow process by which a person, no matter what their age, intentionally slowly starves themselves to death. A person with anorexia will always believe they are fat regardless of how much weight they lose. They may weigh a mere one hundred pounds but when they look in a mirror, they see themselves as fat. So they continue to diet and exercise even harder. Some may lose so much weight that they will require hospitalizing to prevent starvation by being feed with a feeding tube. In, many cases, if not treated properly, this eating disorder will lead to their death.
  2. Bulimia eating disorder is those people who will go on a binge eating and will consume great amounts of food. They will then find a bathroom and force themselves to purge (vomit) in order to rid themselves of the excess food. They may also resort to using large amounts of laxatives, enemas and will engage in excessive and extreme physical exercise.
  3. Binge eating disorder is the opposite of anorexia and bulimia. In this case, people not only overeat, but eat without being able to control or stop eating. They also are not physically active. This generally leads to being obese and having trouble losing weight.

What Can Cause An Eating Disorder

No one clear cause of eating disorders has yet been determined, although there is a general consensus that eating disorders give the the feeling of being in control. No one can force someone to eat and this makes them feel they have control over a small area of their lives. It is also suggested that family behavior and attitudes may contribute to someone developing an eating disorder. Young girls often see what their parent's and friends attitudes are towards food and losing weight and this becomes a learned behavior. Parents, mothers in particular, may also encourage their young daughters to lose weight and be thin. Teens quickly get the message that it is extremely important to be thin from those around them and society in general. Society seems to teach young people that above all else, it values beauty and thinness.

Another concept about what causes eating disorders is that they are often about a person's emotions. Sometimes food and eating disorders can be about anger, fear, self disgust, low self esteem and depression. Food can be used as a comfort food for some people leading them to overeat, or binge and then feel disgusted with themselves. They then force themselves to purge the food to feel better about themselves.

Older women can develop eating disorders for many reasons. Some women have battled eating disorders as teenagers and the eating disorder continues throughout their lifetime. With older women some of the following may cause an eating disorder to develop.

  1. Feelings of their lives being out of their control
  2. Menopause and fear of aging
  3. Body changes
  4. Life changes such as divorce, death of a loved one, or children leaving home
  5. Career or financial worries
  6. Being part of a bad relationship

Signs Of Someone With An Eating Disorder

Following are some of the signs that can tell you if someone you love has an eating disorder:

  • Spending an excessive amount of time physically working out
  • Using diet pills and laxatives
  • Talks about the need to be perfect or a perfect weight, obsesses about their weight
  • Mood swings. Refusing to eat (for whatever reason)
  • Frequent bathroom trips after meals
  • Large weight loss

Karen And Richard Carpenter meet President Richard Nixon

Karen and Richard Carpenter the famous singing duo of the seventies meets President Richard Nixon
Karen and Richard Carpenter the famous singing duo of the seventies meets President Richard Nixon | Source


Treatment begins like any other addiction with admitting there is a problem and be willing to ask for help, although many individuals fell embarrassed to ask for help. For those who seriously want to get better, there is plenty of help and good treatments available that will allow them a complete recovery.

Steps to Recovery

Step #1

  1. Admit there is a problem
  2. Find someone who specializes in eating disorders
  3. Call or check out the website for the National Eating Disorder Association for more information and sources of help

Step #2

  1. See your doctor for a medical evaluation and referrals
  2. If your health is in danger, admit yourself to the hospital immediately

Step #3

  1. Make a commitment and make a plan for recovery
  2. Include a support team, therapist, family doctor, family members and close friends
  3. Join a support group

Step #4

  1. Learn new ways of dealing with the emotions that are causing you to overeat, binge or purge
  2. Talk about your emotions with a therapist, family and close friends
  3. Writing down your emotions may give you some of the answers to what is causing your eating disorder

Princess Diana Speaks About Eating Disorders

It Will Not Be Easy But Recovery From An Eating Disorder Is Possible

Eating disorders are a serious problem, whether the person is a male or female, teenager or an older woman. These disorders can cause serious health problems as well as ending in premature death. Treatment is available and one of the first places to seek help is your family doctor, who can then refer you to other available sources of help. Although it will not be easy, there is help, information and treatment available for those who wish to get well and lead a healthy life.

Famous People Who Struggled With An Eating Disorder

  1. Princess Diana suffered with bulimia from the time she became engaged to Prince Charles in 1981. To Princess Diana, this was a form of dieting and control. Diana was under tremendous stress and the bulimia helped her keep some form of control of her life. Later, a friend convinced Diana to seek help with a doctor from Guy's Hospital in London. Diana eventually acknowledged that she had suffered an eating disorder, made a public speech on the subject and helped to bring understanding to a troubling disease.
  2. At the age of thirty two, Karen Carpenter died from heart failure after her eight year struggle with anorexia. Karen and older brother Richard were, "The Carpenters" the best selling group of the 1970s. At one point before her death, Karen weighed a mere eighty pounds.
  3. Cathy Rigby is a gymnastics gold medal winner. She won the United States National Gymnastics Championship in 1970 and 1971. But Cathy was also secretly dealing with the eating disorder, bulimia. To stay competitive in gymnastics, weight is important and Cathy worked hard keeping her weight down at one point weighting only ninety seven pounds. In an interview in 1991, Cathy admitted to being hospitalizes twice and almost dying. Cathy has given many speeches to others who suffer with eating disorders
  4. Paula Abdul is a pop singer and dancer. She is also a survivor of bulimia. Paula began dancing at a young age and always envied the taller and slimmer girls. One summer Paula attended a dance camp for aspiring young dancers and it was here that she learned the secret of losing weight and developed bulimia. Paula struggled with this disease for years until in 1994 she entered treatment and became a survivor and advocate of others with eating disorders.

Help for Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders: A Guide to Medical Care and Complications
Eating Disorders: A Guide to Medical Care and Complications
This book is a great guide for anyone who knows someone suffering from an eating disorder. It covers medical and emotional problems which can cause a person to develop an eating disorder. It talks about the serious effects that not eating properly can have on the body. The book is written by doctors who have specialized in treating patients with eating disorders and working with their families.


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    • L.M. Hosler profile imageAUTHOR

      L.M. Hosler 

      6 years ago

      Thank you MsDora. There really are a lot of people that suffer from these eating disorders. I admire Princess Diana's courage in admitting this and all the other good things she did.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for the information on types and causes of eating disorders. You are so right; it can happen to anyone. Diana's video is also very helpful. A very necessary reminder. Voted Up!

    • L.M. Hosler profile imageAUTHOR

      L.M. Hosler 

      6 years ago

      Thanks so much for the comment and the compliment. Technology can change pics to make them look much better. I have seen some pictures recently on I think it was People magazine of a woman in her sixties who looked 20 yrs younger and thinner than she is now. Then of course there is plastic surgery these days which may make another article.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 

      6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      L.M. Hosler thank you for the exposure to eating disorders. It is very true that society leads women to believe that they must be perfectly thin. What society fails to realize is today's technology affords us the ability to photogenically changed or remove flaws instead of learning to embrace them. Your article is a very important contribution :)Voted up


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