The Skinny on MANorexia Nervosa: It's Not Just for Girls!
Eating Disorders: Chew On This!
It is estimated that over one million boys are suffering from the ravages of anorexia nervosa in the United States alone!
Now - THAT'S a lot to digest!
There is no social class that this disease will not eat through - no racial - no religious - no geographic. It is bi-partisan and a-sexual in the damage it does and the havoc it creates.
And now? Now, it is being recognized as an equal opportunity disease as well! Boys can starve themselves to death, too!
While most parents take in the dangers that this illness presents, and are - hopefully - vigilant in noticing any signs or changes in their daughters - their sons, in the meanwhile - could be busily disguising evidence of their own illness!
Boys stricken with anorexia have to gnaw on the inherent shame of having the disease in the first place - and then - they are forced to sink their teeth into the knowledge that it is a disorder historically synonymous with girls!
Ewwwww! Anorexia AND girl germs! It's a lot for any young boy to swallow and could very easily turn into a recipe for disaster!
Long included amongst those 'distasteful' afflictions that nobody likes to speak of - the time has come to pick a serious bone with this deadly disease that is so voraciously gobbling up the lives and futures of our children!
Here are some known triggers for male anorexia - and the symptoms to watch for...
Pre-Mature at Birth: Children born pre-term are more likely to suffer from general behavioral issues - including eating disorders!
- Early Onset Puberty: Boys who are turning into men faster than their friends may try to reverse the process.
- Poor Body Image: Watch for a hyper-interest in their bodies - including verbal and non-verbal clues. A pubescent boy who spends an inordinate amount of time staring into, or flexing in front of a mirror could be at risk.
- Marked Increase in Exercise: Exercise is good. Too much exercise could very well be a danger sign of an eating disorder.
- Layering of Clothes: While this is a a classic symptom of all eating disorders - it is, at the same time - not necessarily a symptom of anything at all. Keep close tabs none the less. A sudden love of layering should be looked at more closely - especially if combined with any other symtoms!
- Sudden Depression: Displeasure with ones body image can quickly spiral into depression.
- Playing with Food: Those afflicted with eating disorders work diligently to hide the fact from others. They will sit at the table and pretend to eat - all the time just moving their food around their plates or surreptitiously feeding it to Fido!
- Obsessive-Compuslive Behavior: Many who suffer from eating disorders have the highest IQ's and the highest aspirations! Perfectionists often fail in their own eyes and can tend to micro-manage every aspect of their lives - including what they eat! This can easily spiral out of control.
Isolation: Any changes in social interaction, behavior, attitudes, or sleep patterns should be noted and discussed. Those suffering from eating disorders tend to be even more irritable and irrational than average pubescent kids!
- Loss of Body Weight: While this may seem obvious - it often isn't until it is too late. Weigh your child over a period of 2 months if you have any concerns. If there is any weight loss at all - there is a problem. Children should NOT be losing weight!
- Genetic Link?: While not yet scientifically proven, many believe there is a genetic link - as eating disorders tend to run in families. Others believe it is a familial phenomenon and not genetic at all!
No matter what the combination of motivating factors may be - the common ingredient is that eating disorders are used as a way to gain control over ones life - or a particular aspect of it - that feels out of control to the victim.
What's important to feast upon - is that anorexia - and manorexia - CAN be whipped if caught in time!
Knowledge is power!
Gorge upon it!
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