Self-image is important because it has an impact on many aspects of life. Unhappiness, or simply everyday problems, push young people to compensate. Thus, many take refuge in food, for example. However, this behaviour leads to eating disorders which are often dangerous for one’s health.
Better understanding of eating disorders
Everyone thinks that food is the basis of eating disorders. Sometimes people link it to a self-image or weight problems. In reality, problems with eating are related to how people see themselves and the events that affect their daily life.
It is important to know that eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age or body type. However, these problems are most common in young people. It is important to understand that a person suffering from this type of disorder does not have to feel guilty. On the contrary, they should be treated with kindness and support. However, a person with an eating disorder is often misunderstood. They find it difficult to talk about their problem and do not get the right help.
Factors contributing to eating disorders
Eating disorders can be caused by different factors. A biological or genetic problem can be the cause. A psychological condition or poor emotional management is also a likely cause. In some cases, cultural norms and beliefs may contribute to the development of these disorders.
In young people, eating disorders may become apparent with:
- Dieting: the person is too determined to lose weight, which leads to extreme measures.
- Low self-esteem: young people do not appreciate themselves as they are and want to lose weight to feel better about their bodies;
- A difficult experience: a serious loss (parent, relative), harassment or a serious illness may lead to the appearance of eating disorders.
Generally, various problems in everyday life also affect young people. These changes in behaviour are caused by social pressure, personal problems or stress (at home, at school, etc.).
The different forms of eating disorders
There are 3 types of eating disorders to be aware of. The first is bulimia. It is presented as a desire to eat a lot and then compensate by making oneself vomit or by practising a sport intensely. The second, binge eating, is a form of bulimia. In this case, the person does not compensate for the high food consumption.
Finally, anorexia nervosa is characterised by eating less than the body needs. It can also be a refusal to gain weight even if this decision is detrimental to health. There are other forms of eating disorders such as:
- Merycism, the phenomenon of food being returned to the mouth and the re-mastication of ingested food;
- Pica disease, the desire to eat products that are not edible;
- Selective feeding.
These various disorders can have a great influence on the body. Not eating enough or eating too much can lead to fatigue, dizziness and fainting in addition to digestive problems and nutritional deficiencies.
If symptoms of an eating disorder occur, do not hesitate to talk to people close to you or adults you trust. This can be a doctor, a relative, a friend, etc. There are also many organisations that support young people who are experiencing difficulties.
LOVE supports youth to thrive through programs and healthy relationships that build emotional intelligence and help overcome the challenges they face. Our participants emerge from LOVE’s programs with greater resilience, heightened skills, and the confidence to be inspirational leaders.