Friday, January 15, 2010
What Do You See?
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you look at yourself and think 'I'm so perfect and skinny!' Or, do you stand there wondering what you could do to get rid of those flabby love handles? This is what an average teenager would be thinking. They rarely think they are what are known to be as 'perfect.' 1 in every 200 women will develop an eating disorder related to anorexia nervosa. Nearly half of all Americans know someone with an eating disorder. But, very few know just how serious these disorders can be.
Anorexia Nervosa can best be described as the obsession to be thin. The disorder usually starts out with a simple diet for sports, weight issues, or it is sometimes even triggered by a negative comment from a peer. Sometimes it escalates because the individual likes the feeling of being in control. Anorexia over time will eventually lead to dizziness, fainting, dry skin and hair, stunted growth, heart problems, loss of menstrual periods, and sometimes in the worst cases, death. Most people think that only women and teenagers are anorexic. This however, is not true. In fact, 15% of people with anorexia are males. Most of us whether we realize it or not, know a girl that struggles with an eating disorder.
Why do people develop eating disorders? You can blame a lot of it on the media. TV Shows like 'Americas Next Top Model' make young girls think that in order to be pretty, they have to be skinny. The 'ideal appearance' of a woman’s body is supported by advertising, magazines, television, internet, and mass media. These pressures increase the chances for people to develop and eating disorder. Once someone gains an eating disorder, they begin to feel depressed and alone. Where do they turn for support? Not to family, not to friends, but to the internet. Teens feeling alone sometimes have nowhere else to turn except to the internet, where they find blogs and sites on anorexia. On these websites they are not only encouraged to continue with their destructive behavior, but are even given tips on how to take it to the next level. As they progress with their disorder, they develop issues dealing with depression, loneliness, and isolation.
As stated before, anorexia can sometimes lead to death. This recently happened with one of America's most beloved stars, Brittany Murphy. Brittany struggled with anorexia for a number of years, and it is thought to be one of the main reasons for her death. She passed at the young age of 32. She is not the only young celebrity to suffer from this disorder. Many other stars suffer from anorexia, such as, Nichole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, Ashlee Simpson, and Mary Kate Olsen. All people that young children look up to as role models. People that are suppose to be looked upon as positive influences.
So, no matter who you are, you can’t just trust the media. Anorexia is a serious disease that needs to be fixed right away. Don’t ignore the signs. If you think you know someone who has an eating disorder, contact an adult, or someone you trust right away.