Though many people who are battling an eating disorder have some sense that their behavior is abnormal and even harmful, they may not have a full sense of how destructive these conditions can be. In fact, if you've been maintaining anorexia or bulimia for months or even years, you may believe that your habits are sustainable. Physical symptoms including brittle hair and nails, the cessation of the menstrual cycle (for women) and stained teeth could present themselves, but even these can be covered, concealed and ignored.
Recently, BBC News shared the story of a young man who struggled with bulimia for years before passing away. Laurence Nugent of Northern Ireland was 24 years old when he lost his life to the eating disorder, and his family now hopes to spread awareness of its severity.
"We weren't in despair at the beginning. We thought we'll get him help, we'll fix it as mummies and daddies do, but as time progressed we realized this is very serious," said Pamela Nugent, the first person Laurence told about his condition.
The Nugents reportedly noticed that Laurence's behavior had changed, but neither the family nor Laurence himself fully grasped that what began as a fixation on body image could actually prove fatal.
Anorexia and bulimia are dangerous mental health conditions that affect men and women of all ages and backgrounds. If you or someone you love is fighting this fight, don't hesitate to contact an anorexia and bulimia treatment center for help. The eating disorder program at Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, is lead by renowned eating disorder expert Dr. Pauline Powers.
Dr. Powers has devoted more than 40 years to the study of eating disorders and their treatment, and is internationally recognized as an educator, and trainer. Dr. Powers is founding president of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), past president of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and a founding member of the Eating Disorders Research Society. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Eating Disorders Review and has served as president of the National Eating Disorders Association.