Dangers of Eating Disorders & How You Can Reach Out For Help
Has something about your friend changed lately? At first
she looked a little leaner — great! Then maybe she started dropping weight fast.
Worried? We don’t blame you. Your friend may have an eating disorder. Eating disorders
are abnormal eating habits that can threaten your health or even your life. It is
very serious. Find out the common signs, health risks and how you can reach out
Signs of an Eating Disorder
There are two main types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa
and bulimia nervosa. Girls with either can show these signs:
Sudden change in eating habits: Does a friend suddenly say “no” to some of their favorite
foods? Or does she always have an excuse for not eating, like she’s not hungry,
she just ate or she feels sick? On the reverse, does she binge eat? Does she eat
alone instead of with you and friends?
Your friend may look great, but she won’t believe you when you tell her. She seems
to put herself, her weight and her looks down a lot.
Extra exercise and focus on her weight:
Is your friend always at the gym these days? Or
at home doing the same exercise DVDs? Does she pick working out over hanging out?
Has she become overly concerned about her weight?
Where did the bubbly girl you once know go? Have her mood swings become the new
If you notice any of these signs, look to talk to a trusted
adult about your concerns for your friend.
Eating disorders don’t just affect weight — they affect the
whole body. To be healthy, your body needs nourishment from food. It uses it for
energy. Here are some of the health risks and dangers of an eating disorder:
Malnutrition (lacking nutrition)
Low blood pressure
Dry skin and hair, brittle
hair and nails, hair loss
And many more
How to Help
First, talk to a trusted adult with your concerns for your
friend. The adult can help determine what to do next. If your friend does have an
eating disorder, her recovery will take some time and might include therapy, medication
and maybe hospitalization. It’s important that they see a professional for help.
The professional will have the expertise to find the right help.
For additional information or to talk to an expert, you could
contact these organizations:
National Eating Disorders
Association by calling 800-931-2237
International Mental Health
Referral Service by calling 800-THERAPIST or 800-843-7274
National Association of Anorexia
Nervosa and Associate Disorders (ANAD) by calling 847-831-3438
Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders
Rader Programs by calling
Referrals to Eating Disorder
Specialists (US and Canada): The Renfrew Center by calling 800-RENFREW or 800-736-3739
Looking for help for eating disorders? Get helpful information and advice from BeingGirl.