Eating Disorders are psychiatric illnesses characterized by an all-consuming desire to be thin and an intense fear of weight gain. These disorders can cause dangerous medical problems. These disorders usually occur during pre-adolescence or adolescence.

There is currently research on three types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Refusal to maintain a minimally normal body weight
  • Generally individuals with Anorexia restrict their food intake and basically cause their bodies to starve
  • These individuals are often depressed as they never view themselves as thin enough. When they look in the mirror, a distorted perception of themselves prevents them from seeing how they truly look
  • Bulimia Nervosa
    • Characterized by reoccurring episodes of binge eating followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviors (e.g., self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise)
    • These individuals often maintain an average body weight, making it difficult to detect
  • Binge-eating
    • Describes individuals who binge in the same way as one with bulimia, but does not compensate for the binge

What are the symptoms or indications?

Physical Symptoms:

  • Weight loss or fluctuation of weight in a short period
  • Abdominal pain
  • Feeling full or bloated
  • Feeling faint or cold
  • Dry hair or skin, dehydration, blue hands/feet
  • Lanugo hair (fine body hair)

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Dieting or chaotic food intake
  • Pretending to eat, throwing away food
  • Exercising for long periods
  • Constantly talking about food
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Wearing baggy clothes to hid a very thin body

Emotional Symptoms:

  • Complaints about appearance, particularly about appearance, particularly about being or feeling fat
  • Sadness or comments about feeling worthless
  • Perfectionist attitude
  • Family conflicts

What can be done at school?

  • Discipline students who discriminate and harass others based on size
  • Have a plan (refer to guidance counselor, school psychologist, etc.)
  • Seek help when needed