The pressure women endure in routine life is unimaginable. Yet, the challenges she has to face mean very little to society. From shaming for period pain to body shaming, society has found innumerable ways to humiliate women for their mere existence. As a collective being, humankind has let them down to the extent that they have to pay the price due to the behavior and actions of others.
Needless to say, humans have still not been able to create a safe space for women as a society to get the medical attention and treatment they need. It would be unfair to say that they haven’t tried or that men don’t experience it, but when it comes to women’s progression, it has somewhat not been as hampered as that of men.
Body shaming is a disgraceful act in itself, be it for any gender, and it can have dire effects that may not be known generally. One such effect of body shaming is anorexia.
Anorexia doesn’t necessarily happen to someone who has been bullied for their weight, but it can happen to anybody. However, that being said, it is prevalent in those who have faced body shaming.
What is Anorexia? Its impact on society.
Anorexia nervosa is a generally known eating disorder that causes abnormal weight gain due to intense fear of gaining weight and the negative connotation attached. People with anorexia prevent weight from gaining at a high cost by cutting down on eating, vomiting after eating or even exercising heavily to wear off the calories. However, this fear of weight gain is not even lost when the actual weight is lost.
It has been witnessed prominently in young females. Anorexia has very little to do with food. It is about living an extremely unhealthy lifestyle that threatens physical and mental well-being. It makes a person equate their self-worth to thinness.
Eating Disorders in Teenagers,
A study has found over 25% of Indian teenage girls suffer from eating disorders. Another study suggests that eating disorders rise in women at any age due to body dissatisfaction.
This can happen due to various factors, such as young females getting bullied for their body weight at an early age or seeing a false representation of desirable body standards on social media and other platforms that make them feel undesirable.
This constant feeling of not being enough can act as a tool that keeps alive the body dysmorphia.
The impact on society
The impact it has on society can create a loop in which the growing young females enter and see themselves as ‘not enough’ and undesirable, causing them to get into an unhealthy regime of ‘perfecting themselves’ until they can’t keep up with it.
This is extremely dangerous as disorders like anorexia can push the girls to the edge where they’re entirely starving themselves and exhaust their bodies with extreme workouts.
This results from society’s expectations of standard figures that young women must maintain. When young women feel the pressure of judgment, it could have severe implications, especially on their mental health.
Anorexia is developing in many young women as trolling, false representation, and desirable figures keep on existing in society and cause an impact on their mindset and everyday lifestyle. To better understand why it happens, it is essential to understand what young anorexic women go through.
Symptoms of Anorexia in young females
The symptoms of anorexia nervosa can be physical and emotional. Anorexia nervosa can have behavioral and emotional issues due to unrealistic body perception. The signs and symptoms might be difficult to notice as they may not appear extremely thin.
- Extreme Weight Loss
- Abnormal Blood Counts
- Thin Appearance
- Falling of hair, breakouts, thin hair
- Blue discoloration of fingers
- Fainting & Dizziness
- Irregular or absence of period
- Eroded teeth
- Callus on the knuckles
- Yellowish skin
- Unable to tolerate cold
- Swelling of arms and legs
Emotional & Behavioral Symptoms
- Severe fasting or dieting to restrict food intake
- Excessive exercising
- Using laxatives to get rid of the food by self-induced vomiting
- Cooking meals but not eating them
- Staying hungry or making excuses not to eat
- Eating foods that are low in calories and fat as it is considered to be “safe.”
- Spitting food after chewing
- Not eating in public
- Lying about the amount of food intake
- Reduced interest in sex
- Withdrawing socially
- Lack of emotions
- Fear of gaining weight and measuring weight repeatedly
- Covering the body with layers of clothing
- Complaining about being fat
- Constantly checking the mirror to check for flaws
Causes of Anorexia in young females
The causes of anorexia are not known yet. There is not a clear indication of which genes are involved. However, genetic changes may put some people at greater risk of developing anorexia.
For example, some people with anorexia nervosa may have traits of obsessive-compulsive disorder, causing them to restrict their diet and think their body is never good enough. Other social and environmental factors may also play a key role in causing anorexia in young females, as the modern-day emphasis on thinness equates with self-worth and success.
Complications as a result of anorexia nervosa
There can be several complications that can occur as a result of anorexia, and one of them is death due to being severely underweight. Other complications may include-
- Imbalance of electrolytes
- Heart problems such as mitral valve prolapse
- Loss of bone with increased risk of fractures
- Kidney problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Decreased testosterone in men
- Absence of period in women
- Loss of muscle
- Alcohol substance
- Obsessive- Compulsive disorder
- Self-injury, suicidal thoughts
- Changes in personality
There is no known or guaranteed prevention of anorexia. However, if identified early, consulting medical practitioners may help prevent the further development of the illness. Bansal hospital has a credible psychiatric department that will understand the disease and respond with apt diagnoses, care, and treatment. Anorexia is a serious illness, and awareness should be made available to silent sufferers.