Eating Disorders among Teens

by Adeline Cid
(Philippines)

I sometimes forget what it feels like to be a teenager. It may be because I prefer to leave most of my teenage years in the past, right where it belongs.

The emotional, physical, and mental torment was at times too much for me to handle. Striking a balance between schoolwork and social life was a huge challenge for me. One mistake could lead to being grounded, which we all know means no parties and no sleepovers for months!

In high school, I felt that there was too much pressure to be all that: smart, beautiful, thin, perfect. The pressure may even be greater at this time, because teens nowadays have to maintain their image both online and offline!

The pressure is On.

Teens may sometimes equate popularity with success, and the first step in grabbing everyone’s attention is to look as perfect as possible. The desire to enhance one’s physical appearance has become of primary importance to many, so much so that there are teens who have actually gone under the knife to improve their looks before even reaching the age of 18. Some do it for medical reasons, but there are many who don’t.

The pressure to be perfect is sometimes pumped up by the media.
Almost all photos in ads nowadays are digitally edited, which can slowly and subtly alter images of beauty in our minds. The photos may not be real, but the pressure to be an image of perfection is. For some who already have body image issues, this kind of pressure coupled with other psychological factors may lead to eating disorders.

The Face of Anorexia

I decided to write about eating disorders after reading the story of Isabelle Caro. Isabelle was an anorexic model from France. She became one the most recognizable faces of anorexia after posing for an ad campaign against the disorder. Isabelle wrote about her turbulent childhood in a book, in which she also talked about her anorexia. Sadly, she died at the age of 28 while promoting the book.
Reading about Isabelle Caro has changed the way I think. Anorexia, I realized, is not the kind of sickness kind you can prevent with a vaccine, or cure with an over-the-counter drug.

An eating disorder is something that develops in the mind, and ironically, is also treated by it. It becomes very dangerous when one has lost all hope and desire to overcome it.

If you get to read any anorexic’s story like Isabelle’s, you will always hear about their insecurities, and how these were magnified by people who influenced them to lose weight to the point of obsession.

There is also an angle of attention-seeking, because some genuinely feel unloved by their family. When you know of someone who may show signs of anorexia (being thin and frail, weighing oneself periodically, being obsessed with measuring food intake, feeling fat, taking laxatives daily), encourage them to seek professional help. You’ll never know how this may turn their life around.

References:

1. “New York Times”; Isabelle Caro, Anorexic Model, Dies at 28; William Grimes; December 2010
2. Royal College of Psychiatrists: Eating Disorders Key Facts;

About the Author: Adeline Cid

Adeline is a professional writer who specializes in a variety of topics, including youth sports, fitness disorders, and general teen psychology. Most of her work can be found in the website: Help Your Teen Now.

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