Is Anorexia a disease?
July 16, 2007 2:36pm CST
I was 12 years old when I decided to hide the fact that I was going to stop eating! Mostly everyone just commented that I was loosing weight. Only a couple of times did anyone ask me if I was eating? I was really proud of myself when I could pull my pants on and off without undoing any of the buttons or zippers. One day I was watching a news story about Anorexia giving a list of all the problems that the body will have if someone decides to stop eating! I was watching intently as they ran the list over the screen. A number of things stood out to me but one thing I already had noticed and was getting worried about was the light sensitivity in my eyes! I decided if the news was right about the light sensitivity then they maybe be right on other issues as well. Like the loss of losing my period which I would be happy about but I knew I didn't want to run the risk of never having children if I carried this to far. I also new I didn't want to die! So I decided to stop my no eating and start eating and be healthy! Later on in life I started to hear that Anorexia was a disease! I thought to myself, I thought I chose to be Anorexic? Can I choose to have a disease? A few more years after that a friends daughter had Anorexia and ended up in the hospital? I would listen to my freind cry and talk about it and finally one day I said to her I just wonder about this? Can I tell you my story from beginning to end? I told her everything about how I chose to start and how I chose to end it! I said I believe if your daughter decides to stop just as she choose to start and stop she will get will. My friend was so furious with me as I knew she would! I said your daughter is getting sicker by the day in the hospital I ask you to just give this a try sense you have tried everything else? So without telling me; I didn't see her for weeks? She asked me to come see her? She told me she talked with her daughter and told her my story and the daughter was really mad at her! A few days later the daughter said to her mom; I am really sorry that I did this to myself? I did choose to do this; you are right and I have decided to stop and get on with my life! With in a couple of years this girl was a Registered Nurse! So for me I have a hard time thinking this is a disease; maybe I don't understand the term disease? Do we choose a disease or does a disease choose us? I don't want to be insensitive to anyone struggling with this problem I am only telling my experiences with the disease and putting forth the question. Is it or is it not a disease?
2 people like this
• United States
16 Jul 07
I seem to think it is a disease. I have suffered from it as well. I didn't choose to, I just didn't feel hungrey, I felt nautious by just thinking about eating. I still do it from time to time. I just quit getting hungrey, I don't know why, but I will go for days without eating. My husband says the nautiousness is just in my head. He says I make it all up in my mind. It is true, mind controls the body, so he could be right. Just last week I went on a starving binge, and even if I try to make myself eat, I will throw it up. I can go for weeks without eating a substantial meal, until the point where I am weak, tired and dizzy. I have to force myself to eat in order to feel normal. So yes, I do think it is a disease. A mind disease.
16 Jul 07
That is interesting! I have not heard of anyone not feeling hungry before. I have only heard of people ignoring the hungar; so that is interesting to hear of a different experience. Have you thought back to the beginning to when it first started? I was just thinking you said your husband could be right about it being in your head? So if you think he might be right; is there a time you can remember when you first started doing this that you made a decision not to eat and ignored the hungar and then eventually was able to tune it out so well that you don't even know your hungry anymore when you feel the need to starve yourself? Well actually I guess you wouldn't even be in touch with the need to starve yourself either since your saying you simply just don't feel hungry anymore. This is interesting? Is it possible you are in complete denial of the process you have gone through to get to this place? I don't mean this in a rude way. The reason I ask is because years ago someone confronted me on my life and said to me,"you are so far into denial that you don't even know your in denial". I was so puzzled by the statement and said,"how can I be in denial, I like to face my problems, I think I would know I am in denial". The person laughed at me and said you honestly have convinced yourself so well that you are no longer aware that you choose to be in denial about your life. She said to me that, "I suggest to you, if you want to get unstuck in your life you start looking at every aspect of your life on a daily bases". Well to make a long story short I learnt that I was walking around with let's say rose colored glasses on, or my head in the clouds, or is that the sand? I found she was so right I just could not look at life honestly and found I had to change that if I wanted to grow as a person to make my life better! Now that had nothing to do with the Anorexia at the time as that was years later. But I have no doubt I had already learn't to live a life of denial by then. I learn't denial is a great coping skill I used as my own survival technique to get by in this world. But for you also I was wondering if stress tringers that no hungar feeling and then when you try to eat you feel sick? I have experienced that in stressful situations like say a couple of weeks before my first wedding that happened to me exactly has you said! Having to perform in public did that to me every time, so I stopped! Do you have a lot of stress that would do that to do on a regular bases? Just curious as I am sure you want help for this too as most people do I would think? I wish you all the best with this I know it is hard on you and your relationships! My prayers are with you, get well!
• United States
17 Jul 07
It may be just denial, but sometimes I start to feeling fat, which right now, I know I am not. But when I do, I don't eat. I tell myself I am fat, and i don't eat. And I am not lying, I just quit feeling hungrey and the thought of food begins to make nautious, so I quit eating for weeks. I feel I cannot help it. It may be just in my mind, but I just cannot get myself to eat. So I stick to my main answer, I think it is a mind disease. Like I have said, mind controls the body, so if your mind tells you not to eat, then you won't. Hopefully someday I will get over my eating disorder, maybe not.
1 Oct 07
Maybe its not a physical disease but a psychological disease. 'Feel like dont want to eat' is a psychological matter. I think the 'feel' is a psychology matter but the state of hungry or full is a physical matter. So as it is a psychology matter then a psychologist is the right person to see if a person has a problem with anorexia..
1 Oct 07
I know for me and for a few others I have talked with through the years; none of us wanted to get fat or be fat so we stopped eating to stay thin or get thin! We probably didn't make the decision to quickly because lets face it. Who likes to be hungry? I know I don't! But eventually the desire to be thin wins out and slowly but surely you give up the food.
5 Sep 07
I suppose being anorexic can be seen as a disease if we stand from the viewpoint of it being transmitted by the influences of the society we live in where thin is acceptable and beautiful. I see it more as a behavioral problem, a state of the mind manifesting itself in the eating disorder. For myself, I didn't even know I was suffering from anorexia until I was referred to a psychiatrist by my GP who was worried about my persistent state of depression, my staying off food and overdosing on laxatives. I didn't see it as a problem even then because I liked to watch my weight decreasing and I derived pleasure from starving myself. Took me years to realise that it is not healthy and to change my mindset. I admit though that all these stemmed from an unhealthy self-image and the fact that I've been put down so many times for being fat.
16 Jul 07
I think you decided to stop eating. You had anoxeriia, but you caught it in time before it over came you. But Anorexia is to do with the body image. It is usually when someone thinks they are fat when they really are slim and is a part of not wanting to grow up. Or in your case, trying to fit into a body image that is unnatural for you. After a time, the obsession grows so much that the Anorexiac cannot help herself. You and your friend are lucky, you did not go that far. Others have to be forced her to eat and probably told to look at a scale and make sure the mirror does not add pounds. It is a psychiatric discorder where the person is afraid of gaining weight. The person has to learn to see their body as it really is and not to look like Twiggy (that was a super skinny English model back in the 1960s). So in a sense it becomes a disease, but at the beginning it is just your decision.
• United States
22 Feb 08
I think there are no two identical people. You make some kind of choice to at least alter you eating patterns at the beginning, you might not really be thinking about your decisions all that much, maybe it's partially subconscious. I think I definitely started starving myself by choice, at the moment it's like I know I could choose to eat healthy if I wanted to, I could write down a perfect, balanced meal plan. I just don't want to. I think that's probably the key. You get into it and there is some degree of enjoyment in the habits you form as an anorexic. I am not trying to say that those who constantly say how miserable they are and that they wish they could get rid of their anorexia are lying. I'm saying it is more complex than that. A part of a person's mind at least, wants to hold on to the habits, maybe just to grab onto some sort of stability. In your case your desire not to experience the side effects was stronger than your desire to keep starving and losing weight, so you stopped. Others who really struggle to try to stop probably have developed a stronger attachment to the behaviors than you had and that's why they are so hard to give up, even in light of the physical discomfort and health danger.
• United States
12 Sep 07
People who have bulimia eat an excessive amount of food in a single episode and almost immediately make themselves vomit or use laxatives or diuretics (water pills) to get rid of the food in their bodies. This behavior often is referred to as the "binge/purge" cycle. Like people with anorexia, people with bulimia have an intense fear of gaining weight.