Many people who have suffered from an eating disorder have linked it to being bullied as a child, as a teen, or as an adult. Their is an unfortunate connection between bullying and eating disorders.
It seems like every kid is the victim of bullying in one form or another. Either you are too nerdy, too smart, too stupid, too skinny, too fat, too tall, or too short. No one is safe from the ridicule.
The major issue that bullying has most significantly created seems to be in the realm of weight. Bullying a young girl for having the “wrong” body type or body shape creates confusion in her brain and contributes to low self-esteem.
Bullying and Eating Disorders
Depending on the age of first teasing, a young girl can be forever influenced by what those bullying her have said about what she looks like. Her path can go one of a few ways, the best of which is that she moves past the bullying and convinces herself that she is beautiful in the skin she’s in. Unfortunately, though, most girls develop negative body images from bullying that can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.
Eating disorders come in all forms. One young person, who has been bullied for being overweight, can make a choice to stop eating, to starve herself, or to binge (eat a lot of food) and then purge (throw up all the food he or she just ate) in an effort to lose weight. Another young person, bullied for being too skinny, may start eating a lot in an unhealthy manner.
The link between bullying and eating disorders is real. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 65% of eating disorders can be attributed to the individual being bullied at some point in his or her life. In addition, 49% of those who have an eating disorder as the result of bullying said that the bullying began before he or she turned ten years old. The effects of the bullying stuck and the eating disorder developed in an effort to cope with the pain, and to change that which was being pointed out by others.
Bullying prevention implemented in schools is helpful in combating some of the problem, but kids can be cruel and bullying can be subtle. What can really be done to stop kids from saying mean things to other kids? Who needs to take responsibility for this? Parents? Teachers? The kids themselves?
Watch a video from a Sovereign Health patient describing the successful treatment they received: