Many people around the world have suffered from an eating disorder at some point in their life. An eating disorder can be defined as an abnormal attitude towards food that can cause a change in an individual’s behaviour and eating habits. Someone who suffers from an eating disorder will usually focus on their weight and body shape, leading them to make unhealthy choices when it comes to food, often with detrimental health risks.
Types of Eating Disorder
There are many different eating disorders, but the most common are:
- Bulimia – This is where a person will go through periods of binge eating and then deliberately make themselves vomit or use laxatives to purge the food they have eaten.
- Anorexia Nervosa – This occurs when a person severely limits the amount of food eaten, often accompanied by excessive exercising to try and keep weight as low as possible.
- Binge Eating Disorder – This disorder causes the individual to eat large quantities of food in a short space of time.
Today, we find many people being diagnosed with an ‘eating disorder not otherwise specified’ (EDNOS), which basically means that the individual does not display the typical symptoms of ‘usual’ eating disorders.
Eating Disorders and Fame
Recently, many YouTubers have been very open and honest about how what they are doing can affect many aspects of their mental health. In a lot of cases, the demands of their extremely public ‘job’ and the never-ending criticism is that which has caused much of what they are going through, including depression, anxiety, self-harm, and eating disorders.
For months now, fans have noticed that YouTuber Adam Dahlberg, more commonly known as SkyDoesMinecraft, has been looking ‘worn out’ when he appears on his channel. Over recent weeks, his channel has stopped posting as much live gameplay and instead has posted mostly highlights of his previous clips. This change was picked up on by his fans, and when questioned about it, Adam explained that it was due to his struggle with Bulimia. He did not feel as confident in posting live videos of himself anymore. Sadly, this is one of the consequences of an eating disorder; the individual loses self-confidence.
Adam’s YouTube channel has an impressive 12 million subscribers, and his channel is placed in the top fifty most subscribed YouTube channels.
What Can Cause an Eating Disorder?
A number of factors cause eating disorders; some of these are associated with genetics, environmental or biological factors combined with a particular event that has triggered the disorder. It is often the case that eating disorders have been blamed on the media, and its increasing ‘pressure’ to be thin. This often has the effect of many people being of the opinion that they should ‘look’ a certain way and be a particular weight to be considered ‘beautiful’.
Certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of an individual developing an eating disorder. Some of these can include:
- A family history of eating disorders, substance abuse, or depression
- Stressful situations including problems at home, work or school
- Traumatic experiences such as sexual/physical abuse or the death of a loved one
- Constantly being criticised about weight, body shape of eating habits
- Certain underlying characteristics such as having anxiety or low self-esteem.
Any of these factors can have a significant impact on whether a person develops an eating disorder.
Signs of an Eating Disorder
Spotting an eating disorder can be challenging. However, if you suspect that a friend or family member may be suffering from such as disorder, it is important that you try to speak to them about it and support them as best you can. It is common for an individual with an eating disorder to be extremely secretive and very defensive about their weight and eating habits. In many cases, they will deny having a problem at all. Signs to look out for include:
- complaining to be fat when they are underweight or even a healthy weight
- skipping meals
- claiming to have already eaten when you know they have not
- only eating extremely low-calorie foods in the presence of others
- regularly weighing themselves or looking at their appearance in a mirror.
If your loved one is displaying one or more of these signs, then it is important that you seek professional help for them as there is a high chance that they will not do it themselves, meaning the disorder will progress.
Eating disorders are an issue that will affect many people at different stages of their lives. An individual suffering from an eating disorder may be very secretive about his/her condition, so if you spot the signs, it is essential to seek professional support to help the affected individual get through this difficult time.
Source: Popular Minecraft YouTuber Opens Up About Eating Disorder (Kotaku)