The Psi Beta Honor Society~Psychology Club and The Department of Psychology hosted a guest speaker in room 2420 on May 13. Although the attendees came for the extra credit, they were served Jackie Holmes’ lecture; “Eating Disorders: Recovery and Healing.”
“There’s a belief that if there’s something that I can do to change my body, I would then be happy,” said Holmes.
Holmes addressed the negative influence that Market Culture has. “If you don’t have this, you’re not okay,” from brand name apparel to six-pack abs, that is the slogan a la mode. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, around 42 percent of first through third grade girls would prefer to be thinner.
“When you’re restricting, the body goes into alarm mode and begins to overproduce a chemical called norepinephrine,” Holmes said, explaining starvation.
First termed Hysterical Starvation by Sigmund Freud, the afflicted exhibit an intense fear of gaining weight and an unnecessary emphasis on body shape. Weighing 85 percent of your total body weight is basic criteria for being deemed anorexic. In women, Amenorrhea for three consecutive months is a common sign of Anorexia Nervosa. According to Eating Disorder Hope, an organization of professionals that study eating disorders and mental illnesses, Anorexia has the highest fatality rate.
One of the more common myths is that people with eating disorders lack willpower or that Anorexia is dieting “gone bad.” Anorexics are actually afraid of food and gaining weight from said food. Another common misconception is that binge eaters are overweight, which is not necessarily the case. In many cases, the afflicted has destroyed their metabolism and is unable to recover.
“Once you start getting better, your feelings will come up big time,” Holmes said.
With perseverance, recovering from an eating disorder is a possibility. Recovery is a process that takes time and understanding. A relapse still remains a potential, but is considered to be a part of the recovery process.
“There’s something going on, but we’re doing something else to hide it,” Holmes said.
Almost half of those that deal with eating disorders also are also afflicted with depression and anxiety. One in five of the afflicted individuals will perish from their affliction. Regardless of age, gender or race, eating disorders afflict indiscriminately.