Eating disorders are very much the type of mental illness that affect us physically, in the long-run, far more than we may realize while dealing with the disorder itself.
I dealt with a combination of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia when I was in high school, followed by a bout of binge eating disorder while I was in recovery. I’ve been in remission ever since, with the odd tendency to give into the ever-present malicious thoughts that present themselves with disordered eating, though the physical side effects from the disorder are something I deal with on a daily basis.
Digestive issues are one of the most common long-term side effects of an eating disorder, according to the many specialists and doctors I’ve seen about my own gut problems. I had a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy done in the beginning of May as a result of my stomach issues, and I’m waiting for an MRI of my small intestine as well.
When I saw the stomach specialist a few days ago, I asked him if the problems I’m experiencing with my own digestive system are a result of the havoc my body endured while I was ill. He told me that they are, and further, that many individuals who experience an eating disorders also struggle with digestive problems once in remission.
It’s arguable that a person struggling with an eating disorder isn’t contemplating the long-term damage their behaviour could have on their body. I certainly didn’t consider it, but now that I’m aware of how damaging this illness is, I believe education and advocacy is crucial in terms of informing people of the destruction an eating disorder can have on the body both mentally and physically.
Eating disorders are a deadly combination of mental and physical strain, and knowledge of their danger has never been more significant.