• Mahati Yerramilli

Signs of Anorexia

What are the signs of Anorexia Nervosa?

We live in a digital age, surrounded by the influence of social media every day. One could post about the pandemic, or even what they had for breakfast. Regardless, at the end of the day, people will always check in to any platform of social media to see what others have to say. There are several benefits to the use of social media, news spreads a lot faster, one can connect with their friends easier, and it is also a source of entertainment. However, social media can also help introduce the world of eating disorders to a predominantly young and vulnerable audience.

It is easy to be brainwashed by people setting the “ideal” beauty standard, and to compare one’s body to one of an Instagram model who has had plastic surgery and digitally alters their photos. For an adolescent, this can be overwhelming and can cause serious damage to their self-esteem and confidence. Not only that, it could cause them to resort to seriously harmful and dangerous tactics to attain the “ideal” body or “fit in”. It is incredibly important for parents and their children to recognize these signs right away and get help.

Signs of an eating disorder:

Emotional symptoms

  • Denying that extreme thinness is a problem

  • Exercising excessively

  • Severely restricting food intake through dieting or fasting

  • Fear of gaining weight that may include repeated weighing or measuring the body

  • Complaining about being fat or having parts of the body that are fat

  • Eating only a few certain "safe" foods, usually those low in fat and calories

  • Lying about how much food has been eaten

  • Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws

Physical symptoms

  • Dehydration

  • Absence of menstruation

  • Dry or yellowish skin

  • Thinner appearance

  • Hair that thins or falls out

  • Irregular heart rhythms

  • Vomiting

  • Dizziness/ Fainting

  • Anemia

  • Kidney problems

  • In males, reduced testosterone

There is no proper cure or prevention for this disease, but there are several treatment centers or different sources of help. If you notice that a family member or friend has low self-esteem, severe dieting habits, and dissatisfaction with appearance, consider talking to them about these issues. Although you may not be able to prevent an eating disorder from developing, you can talk about healthier behavior or treatment options.

For help:

Go to nationaleatingdisorders.org

Call (800) 931-2237: Thursday 11am-9pm ET, Friday 11am-5pm ET

Text (800) 931-2237: Monday through Thursday 3pm to 6pm

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