Eating disorders are illnesses that can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, sexuality, financial status, or race; absolutely any person could be affected by an eating disorder at any point in his or her life.
The media often plays a role in the increasing number of eating disorders seen in individuals around the world. This is because they have created an unrealistic image of the ‘ideal’ body, and many people believe that they should base their appearance on this portrayal. Much has a lot to do with the mentality that many have adopted that ‘thin is beautiful, fat is not’; consequently, this can lead to eating disorders as people will endeavour to look like these scarily-thin celebrities and models that are plastered all over print and social media.
One woman who had battled an eating disorder for many years is Katherine Knowles, who willingly shares her journey with the world to raise awareness of eating disorders and those who suffer from them.
Shame and Guilt
Knowles, from Burnley, has bravely spoken out about her eating disorder to encourage others to get the help and support they need. She battled anorexia since the age of fourteen; once she turned thirty, things got even worse. She explained, “I was hospitalised for six weeks on an acute psychiatric ward because my weight had got dangerously low. At that point, because of the shame and the guilt that I felt, I was self-harming quite a lot as well.”
It has been a struggle, but somehow, Katherine has found the strength to overcome her eating disorder. Four years on and she does not need to take any more medication and has completed therapy. She wants others to know that dealing with an eating disorder is by no means easy. She says, “It is very much like an addiction because it takes over your thoughts completely and controls you. You’re constantly thinking about it; how much you’re going to eat, what you’re going to eat or how many calories you’re going to consume.”
Katherine wants more people to be educated on the adverse implications of an eating disorder and how it can affect more than just the individual. Her aim is to ensure that anyone suffering from an eating disorder knows that he or she is not alone. There is support available for anyone suffering from an eating disorder, and once the affected individual has accepted this, he or she can then move on to live a happy, healthy life.
Different Types of Eating Disorder
Similarly to other addictions, eating disorders come in many forms. There are various eating disorders, but the most common are:
- Anorexia nervosa can occur when an individual tries to lose as much weight as possible by depriving themselves of food and/or vigorously exercising.
- Bulimia sees the individual purposely binge eating and then deliberately making him/herself vomit or use laxatives to try and purge what they have eaten.
- Binge eating disorder, or BED, occurs when the individual overeats, consuming massive amounts of food in a short space of time. This can lead to obesity.
More commonly diagnosed in young people is an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS), which basically means that the individual in question is displaying some of the typical signs of an eating disorder, but not all of them. This is why it is not fully classed as a disorder itself.
Potential Health Risks
Trying to overcome an eating disorder can be a strenuous and monotonous task that involves lots of determination and motivation. Many of the those battling an eating disorder will not actually want to recover as they think this means they will get bigger, which is something, in their mind, that they definitely do not want. However, what these individuals fail to realise is that by allowing themselves to suffer from these eating disorders, they are posing significant health risks to themselves.
Some of the potential side effects of eating disorders include dizziness or fainting, fatigue, thin or damaged hair, brittle nails, and menstrual irregularities or loss of menstruation. However, because an eating disorder is an illness of the brain, it changes the way that the individual thinks so that all he or she cares about is their weight and overall appearance and will have a general lack of interest in anything else.
Help and Support
When trying to beat an eating disorder, you may be unsure about how to go about tackling the issue. Here at Liberty House, we will go out of our way to ensure that you are in the best possible position to overcome your eating disorder in a safe and comfortable environment. The staff at our facility are welcoming and friendly, ensuring that you will feel comfortable at all times. If you require any further information or have any queries, contact us today for assistance.
Source: A Lancashire woman who has battled an eating disorder for 20 years is speaking out to make sure others get help.get help. (2br.co.uk)