February 22, 2010 – 11:00 am
It’s the hushed whispers in the floor bathroom after a girl walks
out. It’s skipping meals and doubling up on gym time. It’s body-bashing
other people’s and your own body with your friends. It’s losing friends
and alienating people. It’s taking a risk with your health. It’s
keeping quiet. It’s keeping you from living your life in college and
beyond to the fullest. It’s time to talk about it!
But about what exactly? Eating disorders. Yep, it’s time to talk about them, girls. That’s the slogan for the National Eating Disorders Association’s (NEDA’s) National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAW), February 21-27th 2010.
The goal of NEDAW is “to ultimately prevent eating disorders and
body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating
disorders and improving access to treatment,” says the NEDAW website.
“Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses — not choices
— and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and
behaviors that shape the disorder.”
Anorexia Nervosa: Self-starvation and refusal to
eat or maintain a weight at a healthy or normal level for one’s age,
size, height and activity level. Intense fear of being fat in spite of
excessive weight loss.
Dramatic weight loss; preoccupation with dieting, weight, food,
calories, and fat grams that interferes with one’s life; refusal to eat
certain foods; denies feeling hungry; complaints of constipation,
abdominal pain, cold intolerance, lethargy,and excess energy; avoids
mealtimes or social functions involving food; resistance to maintaining
normal body weight, comments about feeling “fat”; excessive and intense
exercise regimen; loss of menstrual period; growth of thin body hair.
Bulimia Nervosa: Cycles of binge eating and purging
(compensating for eating large amounts of food in a short period of
time by vomiting, laxative abuse or over-exercising).
Evidence of binge eating; evidence of purging; feels uncomfortable
eating around others; develops food rituals; hides or hoardes food;
drinks excessive amounts of water; uses mouthwash, mints or gum
excessively; unusual swelling of cheeks or jaw; calluses on back of
fingers or hands from inducing vomiting; extreme exercise habits;
extreme concern with body weight or shape; looks bloated from fluid
retention; discolored teeth. May be at a normal weight or overweight.
Binge Eating Disorder: Characterized by recurrent
binge eating without regular use of compensatory measures to counter
binge eating while feeling out of control, ashamed or disgusted over
Excessive binge eating; food rituals; steals or hoards food; makes
lifestyle changes to allow for binges; skips meals or takes small
portions at mealtimes; periods of uncontrolled, impulsive, or
continuous eating beyond the point of feeling comfortably full; engages
in sporadic fasting or repetitive dieting. Body weight may be average,
low, above average or obese.
Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS):
Includes some combination of the signs and symptoms of the above
disorders, but not all of the criteria necessary to meet a specific
diagnosis. Like all eating disorders, EDNOS are physically dangerous
and emotionality destructive.