Just The Facts, Ma’am, On Your Eating Disorder

When is it okay to be yourself?

The answer is always, although, those struggling with our bodies, our identities and especially our diseases aren’t very optimistic at times. Take for example this morning, my “chubby buddy” came out to visit in the mirror this morning. Instead of letting my buddy (fine, I admit, it’s me, just through my chubby goggles) stay with me all day I took some extra time to put on something that I absolutely felt comfortable in my skin and body in. I didn’t like the fact that I hated the way I looked, but I did like the order in which I handled it:

  1. Realize that what’s in the mirror is only a reflection of an image
  2. Even if the reflection is bad, it doesn’t mean it’s real
  3. Nothing is permanent, nothing lasts, things can change.

So, I changed, but it made me wonder, who else goes through this and how does this disorder actually effect my life and daily basis. Of course I know from a personal point of view, but what does the CDC say about this? Below are cold hard facts with my personal experience responses in bold. Just remember, 99% of statistics are made up 😀

Eating Disorders Statistics

General:

• Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression. (Yes, I’ve got manic depression disorder, and I strongly feel that it’s chemical, does that mean that the eating disorder is chemical too?)
• Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment. Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders. (35% is probably because it’s hard to get into a facility. I tried and was rejected because I was “too sick”)
• Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S. (I feel very disturbed that there are so many people that adopt this as a lifestyle, and to have all three of those, I wonder if they counted me three times)
• Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. (probably because the more serious illnesses are placed into locations where they are in straight jackets and we get to roam about the streets)

Students:

• 91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting. 22% dieted “often” or “always.” (Maybe that’s a good sign that those that “always” diet don’t realize that diets don’t work)
• 86% report onset of eating disorder by age 20 (of course, teenage years are hell); 43% report onset between ages of 16 and 20.
• Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents. (Chronic….)
• 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. (So, I’m part of a very special group of 5% people, I think in the law industry we call them “life-ers”)
• 25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique. (It’s temporary “management”)
• The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all causes of death for females 15-24 years old. (just depressing)
• Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. (I don’t care what happens, I will never smoke. Period)
• In a survey of 185 female students on a college campus, 58% felt pressure to be a certain weight, and of the 83% that dieted for weight loss, 44% were of normal weight.(On my campus, I feel like I can be myself, but then again, I kind of feel like I can be myself anyways)

Men:

• An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male.(Poor dudes, you have to wonder why they care so much in the first place?)
• Men are less likely to seek treatment for eating disorders because of the perception that they are “woman’s diseases.” (It’s a human disease, not a gender based disease. This is silly, dudes, really.)
• Among gay men, nearly 14% appeared to suffer from bulimia and over 20% appeared to be anorexic.(Not to sound biased or anything, but there is just as much if not more pressure on the gay men than there are on straight ladies. The problem is that the picking pool for them is smaller and the competition is more.)

Media, Perception, Dieting:

• 95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight within 5 years. (It’s a marketing gimmick, all of that nonsense is just nonsense)
• 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders. (this is how it goes, you see progress and it’s like a little hit of a magic drug, just a little more.)
• The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females. (I’m not part of that 5% nor do I think that 95% of the population would be attracted to it)
• 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures. (Magazines are evil, unless you use them to reflect how wonderful you are because you’re not afraid to be yourself, besides, most of those models are making silly faces and getting groped anyways)
• 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape. (Perfect doesn’t exist)
• 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991).
• 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991). (I blame this on parents….)

For Women:

• Women are much more likely than men to develop an eating disorder. Only an estimated 5 to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia are male. (There is lots of pressure on us not only to be beautiful, but also be to submissive and hand over control to the males. Many times I found myself running to the comfort of the disorder when I let somebody else, usually a male, tell me what I should be)
• An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime. Research suggests that about 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia. (The number might be higher if more women weren’t in denial)
• An estimated 1.1 to 4.2 percent of women have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime.(it’s sad, I can walk through a store and almost spot a disorder from ten miles away. I have the urge to go up and hug people sometimes, but I’d probably get arrested)
• An estimated 2 to 5 percent of Americans experience binge-eating disorder in a 6-month period. (the period around the holidays I’d think, then, the magic of bikini season comes around then we have to find mechanisms to try to make up for our binge-eating.
• About 50 percent of people who have had anorexia develop bulimia or bulimic patterns. (Hooray, I’m a halfer)
• 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems. (My heart has stopped a few times and I have also thought of death, but neither one will be the death of me.)

Mortality Rates:

Although eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder,  the mortality rates reported on those who suffer from eating disorders can vary considerably between studies and sources. Part of the reason why there is a large variance in the reported number of deaths caused by eating disorders is because those who suffer from an eating disorder may ultimately die of heart failure, organ failure, malnutrition or suicide. Often, the medical complications of death are reported instead of the eating disorder that  compromised a person’s health.

According to a study done by colleagues at the American Journal of Psychiatry (2009), crude mortality(oxymoron) rates were:

• 4% for anorexia nervosa

• 3.9%  for bulimia nervosa

• 5.2% for eating disorder not otherwise specified

Back to my point of view, since everyone loves it so much:

Here’s your chance, make a difference be it through helping those you think need help, helping yourself or even just becoming aware of how the media can hurt more than help.

I’m going back to playing with legos, they’re nice and organized and never once have I felt like I wanted to look like a MiniFig

Not even this one.

Not even this one.

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