The desire of having a beautiful, slim body determines girls and young women to take drastic actions. The society we live in puts a lot of pressure on the shoulders of young girls by establishing and supporting exaggerated physical features as ideals of beauty. Teenage girls struggle to get noticed and sustain assiduous efforts in their attempt of improving their physical appearance. Their constant preoccupation with body weight sometimes becomes an obsession and many young girls develop eating disorders.
Eating disorders are considered to be serious illnesses and they may even lead to death. These disorders are basically mental conditions that are characterized by unhealthy behavior, scarce eating and obsession with being overweight. Anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa) and bulimia (Bulimia Nervosa) are the most common and the most dangerous eating disorders.
Anorexia affects persons of all ages and regardless of sex. However, young girls are more susceptible to developing anorexia, due to their ambitions and desires of being thin. Girls with anorexia eat very little food and sometimes they even constrain themselves from eating any food at all. Abstinence from food leads to serious complications and girls with anorexia often develop other diseases due to their bad eating habits. The lack of vital nutrients triggers a lot of changes inside the bodies of anorexics, making them feel weak, tired, anxious, confused and psychically unstable.
Girls with anorexia also experience a lot of physical changes. Their growth is dramatically slowed down; they suffer from stomach aches and internal disturbances, migraines, heart problems, bad circulation of the blood, hair loss and dehydration. Inappropriate eating habits cause hormonal unbalances and girls with anorexia often suffer from amenorrhea. This condition refers to irregular menstruation and girls with anorexia even experience stops of their menstrual period due to small levels of estrogen. Amenorrhea often leads to weakness of the bones, corrosion of the teeth and fragility of fingernails.
Girls with anorexia have obsessive thoughts about food and being fat. They carefully count the calories they consume and often exhaust themselves by doing long, tiring physical exercises. Despite the efforts they sustain in order to keep fit and lose weight, girls with anorexia are never content with their body weight and physical appearance. They have a distorted perception of their body image and always consider themselves to be fat, even if their body weight is considerably lower than it should be.
Young women and girls that have careers where a slim body is a necessity (gymnastics, modeling, ballet) are also susceptible to developing an eating disorder.
It is very important to act quickly when dealing with eating disorders. Girls with anorexia are often unaware of the dangers they expose themselves to and most of them deny having a problem. Some of them, however, are willing to sacrifice their health and jeopardize their lives only to be admired for their silhouette. Because girls with anorexia are usually unable to overcome their illness on their own, they should be provided with plenty of support and encouragement from their families and friends.
Anorexics feel lonely and unhappy and have low self-esteem and self-respect. By proving to people who suffer from anorexia that low body weight isn’t the most important thing in the world and by showing them that they are unique and beautiful regardless of their physical appearance, you can help them make the first steps towards recovery.