Anorexia: A modern day plague

I. J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland

By Karen F. (Grade 9)

Anorexia, a very serious eating disorder, plagues a lot of people everyday. This illness occurs when a person becomes so extreme with their eating habits that they literally starve themselves, often to the point where they are wasting away. People with this illness are obsessed with food and try to gain as much knowledge about it as they can. Food becomes their enemy, and sometimes their anorexia becomes so bad, they have to be hospitalized or they could die.

The causes of anorexia can vary from person to person. The problem is both emotional and physical. Ms. Lake, an adolescent sexuality teacher at I.J. Samson, a junior high here in St. John's, Newfoundland, says that these people usually feel a lot of different pressures on them. Anything from abuse to low self confidence could trigger anorexia. People suffering with anorexia see their lives as very out of control. Lake said that the only way that these people can feel that they have control in their lives at all is to know exactly what is or isn't being consumed by their bodies. They want to be in control of everything, from how neat their room is, to how well they do in school, and being totally in control over their bodies is how they deal with not being in control with the rest of their lives.

People with anorexia really limit the amount of food that they consume. They eat very few calories and little fat. This leads to malnutrition, which can cause serious sickness and even death. Some warning signs of anorexia, besides the lack of food being consumed, are weakness, fainting, and sudden weight loss. Ms. Lake strongly suggests that if anybody knows someone with these symptoms, and think they might have anorexia, try to help them. The first thing anybody should do when trying to help is tell another person that they trust. Although there are no support groups here in our school, there are various organizations in our city that can help. People battling anorexia should remember that this illness will not get better on it's own. The person who has this terrible eating disorder needs as much support and help as they can get so that they can overcome the ugly monster that has invaded his or her body.

This serious illness can affect anybody, it doesn't matter who you are. Usually, people associate anorexia with young girls, but that is not always the way it is. Anorexia can happen to males or females, no matter what age. Whatever your lifestyle is, this illness probably affects you in some way. Jade, one of my friends, is not an anorexic, but she still knows a lot about this illness. She said, "we learn about it in school, and I hear about it all the time". You are probably a person just like her, who this topic comes up to almost every day. Talking about it makes it so more people know about it, and that is one way to help detect the seriousness of the problem.

Anorexia is a very serious problem that can come into anyone's lives and it can be deadly if not treated right away. Although many people do misunderstand anorexia, they are becoming increasingly more aware of this topic. Many sources, such as schools and communities are trying to help spread the word of this deadly disorder. No one is immune to anorexia and because of this, we all have to be aware of what we can do to help fight this illness that takes so many lives.

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