Eating disorders are so common that, out of every 100 students, one or two will struggle with an eating disorder. Eating disorders are classified as medical illnesses, and lead to serious physical health problems, including death in extreme cases.
The two most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia is when someone is obsessively afraid of gaining weight. People who struggle with anorexia usually have a distorted view of their bodies, thinking that a healthy body weight is overweight.
Some people with anorexia go on extreme diets and exercise obsessively to maintain their ideal weight.
Bulimia is when someone binge-eats then purges. Binge-eating is when a person eats a lot of food, often junk food and often in secret. Purging is when the person tries to compensate for eating so much by forced vomiting, using laxatives, or exercising excessively.
If you or a friend struggles with an eating disorder, get help as soon as you can. Like any habit, eating disorders get harder to break with time. Eating disorders involve both the body and the mind, and breaking the habit requires time, patience, persistence, support from others, and usually professional help. Don’t be ashamed to ask an adult you trust for help!