Many young girls suffer from Anorexia
Anorexia is an eating disorder in which people starve themselves. According to estimations, 5-10 million females and 1 million males are battling an eating disorder in the U.S. Anorexia often begins around the onset of puberty and eating disorder is very common among younger girls. About 85% of the estimated with eating disorders are younger than 20 years of age.
Anorexia – Physical Symptoms
Perhaps you suspect that someone close to you is having Anorexia, but you are not sure. Here are some warning signs that you should be aware of:
- Losing 15% of the original body weight
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Always freezing
- Low blood pressure
- Tired, exhausted and sometimes faints
- Reduced metabolism
- Slow reflexes
- Appearance of fluff (similar to babies) on arms, breast and face
- Yellow skin
- Dental erosion due to self-induced vomiting (the acidity of vomiting erodes the enamel of the teeth)
- Irregular heartbeat
Anorexia – Psychological Symptoms
- Occupied with food, diets, body weight
- Frequent weighing, enjoying losing weight
- Excessive exercising, overly active
- Enjoying preparing food to others and watching them eat
- Feeling depressed, worried and having compulsive thoughts
- Isolating oneself from friends and family
Anorexia – How you can help
- Be aware of early signs of changes in behavior such as reducing fat and sugar from the diet, stop eating meat, turning down foods that she/he previously enjoyed, showing increased interest in cooking, starting exercising excessively.
- Confront the problem in a loving way without the guilt. The person may denial, get angry but don’t take the anger personal. Every person that confronts in a loving way increases the chances to a change.
- Don’t be afraid – be as honest as you can and show your feelings, but don’t accuse, demand or play on guilt.
- Don’t demand a gain of weight or changed behavior. Don’t criticize. Show that you are there if she/he wants to talk about the problem.
- Show that you care and ask the person how she/he is feeling without commenting the weight and body.
- Ask how the person who suffers, how she/he wants to get help from you. Some people want the support by telling them how much they should eat, while others take on the responsibility themselves.
- Don’t try and become therapist. Get professional help to your family member or friend. Also, make sure that you yourself get help and support as well. Try to talk to someone outside the family.
What is your advice on this topic? How should you act? What should you say/not say? Please share your experience with us.