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Published March 21, 2012, 07:05 PM

Fargo woman shares her struggles in overcoming eating disorders

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Wherever you look around, you see images of what society considers to be the perfect male or female body. Those images are partly responsible for a startling statistic. An estimated 8 million Americans suffer from eating disorders.

Wherever you look around, you see images of what society considers to be the perfect male or female body. Those images are partly responsible for a startling statistic. An estimated 8 million Americans suffer from eating disorders; 7 million women, one million men.

Anorexia and bulimia can be caused by societal pressures, stress, biology, family and depression. Signs of anorexia include excessive exercise and little eating. Signs of bulimia include swollen cheeks and broken blood vessels.

Dr. Beth Salafia – NDSU Human Development & Family Science: “With anorexia nervosa there's this distorted image of how you look so you can look in a mirror and you could see yourself not how anyone else sees you. You would always think you're too fat.”

The side effects of anorexia include hair loss, low blood pressure and anemia.

Up to ten percent of college women have a clinical eating disorder. Today, we talked with one woman who is recovering from an eating disorder.

Eating disorders; it's a topic Emily Haugen knows all too well.

Emily Haugen – Recovering from Eating Disorder: "Just to always have that constant comparison and never feeling good enough."

Emily says she struggled with body dissatisfaction from the time she was in elementary school. When she was about 14, the unhealthy habits-excessive exercise, dieting and even purging-began.

Emiliy Haugen: "I definitely remember being in middle school and remember the fat talk and the exchange at the lunch table and everybody being on diets."

Emily's behavior worsened during stressful times.

Emily Haugen: "We had a death in our family and the way I coped with it was exercising."

In her sophomore year, Emily's parents decided to get her help. She's been in recovery since then and now she's studying to be a therapist.

Emily Haugen: "Even as awful as I've been through its who I am and it's a part of what I want to do with the rest of my life."

Emily wants to share her own story so she can help young people going through the same problems.

If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, call the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute at 701.293.1335. You can also click on the Easy Link for more information.

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