Eating disorders are psychological disorders that affect a person’s relationship with food in an unhealthy way. Eating disorders are primarily characterized by the adherence to irregular eating habits, severe concern or stress over a person’s body weight or shape, and a general sense of phobia concerning food.
For the most part, eating disorders are diagnosed in early adulthood, but they are commonly obtained during early childhood where a person’s relationship with food normally begins to solidify. Although everyone is capable of developing an eating disorder, not all people are at equal risk of developing an eating disorder. Overall, eating disorders occur much more frequently in women and young girls.
This happens for a variety of reasons:
- Societal pressure that pushes an unrealistic expectation of women’s bodies.
- Irregular hormone functions
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor self esteem
- Dysfunctional family dynamics
- High pressured professions or careers that promote a thing body image
- Aesthetically oriented sports that place an emphasis on maintaining a lean body for enhanced performance
- Long Distance Running
- Childhood trauma
- Cultural pressure
- Peer pressure from friends and coworkers
The biggest problem facing young girls concerning eating disorders goes beyond them simply obtaining a disorder. It’s actually concerning their recovery and treatment. It is impossible to treat the psychological disorder in a vacuum and prevent them from being exposed to the sociological and psychological pressures that caused them in the first place. Young girls are even more affected by this due to the disproportionate public focus on female body image.
Basically, a female recovering from an eating disorder has to face a society that is constantly telling her it is wrong to get better. That means more energy has to be spent on managing the recovery environment for girls and women.