Eating Disorders: The Conversation No One Wants to Have

Eating Disorders: The Conversation No One Wants to Have

Katarina Sin (10th), Editor

While eating disorders have been around for a while and are a prominent factor in today’s media, no one seems to want to talk about them. The risks of eating disorders are buried by society’s glorified, unachievable image, making it hard for people to have serious discussions about them outside of doctors offices.

As they’ve often been brushed aside as basic antics of teenagers chasing an ideal image invented by society, they’re a lot deeper than just a kid messing around. Eating disorders and cardiovascular problems go hand in hand. Not only are heart problems a dangerous risk of eating disorders, so are multiple other mental health problems alongside the physical issues. 

The misunderstanding of eating disorders are what put kids at such a high risk of lifelong issues and even sometimes death. 

Anorexia nervosa is one of the highest leading causes of death in teenagers in America, yet it’s just become another statistic in the system rather than an issue that needs to be discussed. Malnutrition can lead to several heart problems, the most common one being bradycardia, a certain circumstance where the heart muscle weakens and pumps under 60 bpm. If a heart beats under 40 bpm then this person would be required to be hospitalized and monitored.

As a kid who’s experienced the effects of bradycardia due to malnutrition and has had to be hospitalized twice, I can say for certain that social media did not help much in terms of recovery.

Social media has been plagued by people who either fail to understand the severity of eating disorders or just choose to ignore it all around. This then leads to misinformation being spread or harmful tips to arise across platforms that involve eating disorders, which can play a lot of tricks on a recovering mind.

How is it that places where kids are supposed to have fun can become one of the most dangerous environments known to them?

Glorifying eating disorders doesn’t only include putting a celebrity who’s known to have one on a pedestal, it also includes daily things like bragging about skipping meals or posting things such as body checking when you know they have a relation to eating disorders.

Since I know social media makes recovery hard for not just me, but some other kids as well, I decided to interview some people who can relate to these struggles. 

While interviewing an anonymous student here at Pitman High, she gave insight on what it’s like to deal with an eating disorder in this age.

“Sometimes I feel like people don’t believe in them, like they’re fiction. And social media doesn’t help that. Social media creates spaces for people to brag and give tips and to body check and compare sicknesses, which is so messed up. And it makes it so hard to want to recover.” She continues on for some time, stating all the problems within society concerning eating disorders. “I just wish people would take them as seriously as they take everything else that threatens kids’ lives. Because this definitely does.”

Hopefully soon enough eating disorders can be easily better understood and viewed as serious risks to people’s health.