30 million. That is the unfortunate and outrageously colossal number that signifies the amount on people living in the United States who struggle with some type of an eating disorder. For the people who may think that having an eating disorder is just a outward cry for attention, I am hear to tell you that you could not possibly be any more ignorant. An eating disorder is a severe and life threatening mental illness that can very well kill you if not properly treated with medical attention. The health consequences related to such eating disorders can be ultimately fatal, and are certainly not to be taken lightly. Anorexia is one of many eating disorders that can be characterized by an irrational fear of gaining weight. Those proclaimed as being anorexic will go to consequential measures, including starving themselves in addition to excessively working out in order to meet their very own distorted body perceptions.

Anorexia Nervosa is a mental illness and extreme eating disorder where sufferers will go to extreme lengths to avoid gaining weight. This would include starving themselves, the binge and purge cycle, dieting, and uncontrolled exercising. This disease is distinguished by low body weight, inappropriate eating habits, obsession with a thin, emaciated body figure, and the ultimate fear of weight gain. Those troubled by this merciless illness often view themselves as too fat even when they are already severely underweight. They restrict their dieting to the point of starvation and fast even though they are already dangerously thin to begin with.

This illness very clearly has terrible symptoms at the very beginning of it, but what’s even worse are the lasting symptoms that may develop over time. The symptoms that begin appearing at the start of the disease include exceptionally distorted body and self image, denial of extremely low body weight, restricted eating, emaciation, and an extreme pursuit of thinness. Some of these lasting symptoms can permanently damage your body and unfortunately are the startling results of many years of battling this illness. Some of the brutal lasting symptoms may include thinning of the bones (osteoporosis), brittle hair and nails, yellowing of the skin, mild anemia, severe constipation, damage to the heart and brain, organ failure, and ultimately infertility. Listing out all of these side affects can be a little tedious, but really being able to visualize and see for oneself the symptoms of this wicked disease can help one to act more understanding and aware of just how destructive it really can be for those who suffer from it.

Battling with anorexia can truly take over and control one’s life. It’s almost like when it has its grasp on you it is nearly impossible to get away from and not give in to its relentless tortures. I personally believe that anorexia is not a choice, but something that you are thrown into, sometimes without even realizing it. Sometimes it’s the media influencing it, or even society as a whole. Self image also has a lot to do with the starting cause of anorexia. Some people become anorexic as a way to fit an unachievable image of themselves that they may think up in their heads. Everyone at some point in their life has felt like they just don’t measure up to the standards society holds us all so high to. Somedays its easy to feel as though you are simply not good enough for anything or anyone. I believe this is the major aspect that throws some people into the struggle with anorexia as they are trying to get themselves to look the way they wish themselves to be. Anorexics often fall into this trap as they struggle with the unattainable goal of being perfect. Most usually cannot escape from its grasp once they throw themselves into it, and this becomes their demise. The cycle of anorexia is virtually impossible to win, and many anorexics are lucky to even make it out alive.

There is absolutely nothing glamorous or rewarding about struggling with an eating disorder and unfortunately that is how it can sometimes be made out to look, especially on television or in the media. It is not a person’s choice to become anorexic, and it certainly is not something one should wish themselves to be. This disease is truly a battle within oneself and needs extreme medical attention in order to be overcome once and for all.

WORKS CITED

Clinic Staff, Mayo. “Eating Disorders.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medicinal Education and Research, July 2013. Web. 11 Nov 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/eating-disorders/DS00294>.

“Eating Disorders.” . American Psychological Association. Web. Nov 2013. <http://www.apa.org/topics/eating/>.

Mandal M.D., Dr. Ananya. “N News Medical.” What is an Eating Disorder?. N.p.. Web. Sept 2013. <http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-an-Eating-Disorder.asp&xgt;.

“National Institute of Mental Health.” What are eating disorders?. USA.gov. Web. 2013. <http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml>.

“Psychiatry.org.” Eating Disorders. American Psychiatric Association, n.d. Web. 11 Nov 2013. <http://www.psychiatry.org/eating-disorders>.