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Anorexia: to all the teenagers out there

Lakshmi Nanda Madhusoodhanan, IIK Young Reporter
Thursday, May 14, 2020

Anorexia: to all the teenagers out there

Dear Teens and Adults,

“We turn skeletons into goddesses and look to them as if they might teach us how not to need.”

? Marya Hornbacher, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia

Anorexia Nervosa (anorexia) an eating disorder caused by a strong desire to be thin. Many people with anorexia think that they are really fat when the truth is that they are underweight. They also eat food in small amounts or restrict themselves to eat and torture their stomach by being hungry. [1]

Well, what is the cause of this disorder? The cause is still unknown, but cultural factors seem to play a role. We all come across television channels, magazine etc. promoting that flawless body image which we all try attaining. From diet commercials to even friends and relatives can make a person have anorexia. Even when you go to shops, it is surrounded by mannequins with curvy figures and perfect features. When teenagers and adults are surrounded with such pressure, some of them who have low self-esteem either stop eating or take extreme measures to lose weight.

We, teenagers, are influenced by perfect figures we see on magazine covers and we try achieving them too as we feel that to be loved and accepted we need to achieve that particular figure. Boys try achieving the muscular figures, while girls try getting flawless body shapes. The secret behind that perfect images on the covers is that all those pics have gone through a lot of editing which includes Photoshop, airbrushing etc. We are getting brainwashed about the importance of being thin and curvy. We aren’t told about that being healthier is more important than being thin.

We don’t understand the adverse effect of what we try achieving. We are burdening our stomach when we stop ourselves from eating and being addicted about getting thin is a symptom that you have anorexia. And being anorexic, complications include, infertility, heart damage etc. In women, it may even have an impact on their menstruation. And as severity increases, even death is a possible complication. Anorexia has not only impacted physical health but also the mental health of an anorexic person.

Surprisingly, every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result from an eating disorder and 1 in 5 anorexia deaths is by suicide. Why suicide? Getting body-shamed gives a lot of unnecessary pressure which makes some teenagers and adults think that they won’t be accepted if they aren’t thin. 50-80% of the risk for anorexia is genetic and 33-50% of anorexia patients have a comorbid mood disorder, such as depression. [2]

Yes, anorexia has no known cure except therapy and instilling seeds of confidence in the anorexic people. People with higher severity of anorexia are hospitalized and treated.

Understand that your BODY ISN’T FLAWED. If someone criticizes about your body shape, their mind is flawed not your body. Being fat is fine, but being obese isn’t. You don’t have to fit in the crowd, you can be unique. Need help, call out for help but don’t do self-harming. So to all the teenagers, out there struggling to find out what is right and what is wrong. YOU ARE IMPERFECTLY PERFECT IN YOUR WAY. Be and love yourself.

All body types are beautiful

With love,

A 14 year old well-wisher :)

Lakshmi Nanda Madhusoodhanan
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