mental health

  • It's estimated that eating disorders affect around ten million Americans over the course of their lifetime, yet there is still so much that is misunderstood or simply not known about them. For many who suffer with these disorders, the guilt and shame that come with them stem from the stigmas that surround bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating, stigmas that friends and family members might associate with them.

    desperate 2100307 960 720For instance, many people don't believe that men can suffer from an eating disorder, while others believe that a person living with one of these disorders can stop the behavior at any time and get healthy. In reality, while men are far less likely than women to suffer from an eating disorder, they are very much susceptible. And because these disorders are a mental health issue, getting healthy must be done in a way that incorporates therapy or counseling, sometimes for the rest of the sufferer's life.

    It's important for the general public to understand that eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice; rather, they are very real problems that affect a person's daily life, relationships, and health and can even lead to death. And while each disorder presents different symptoms and issues, they do have similarities that can be taken as warning signs by friends and family members. These warning signs are important, because they offer a chance for the sufferer to receive help early on, which increases the possibility of recovery.

    Some of the most common warning signs of an eating disorder include:

    • Watching calorie intake fiercely
    • Becoming obsessed with exercise
    • Eating quite a bit at the dinner table but excusing themselves immediately afterward
    • Skipping meals
    • Eating only low-calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables
    • Sudden or severe mood swings

    The consequences that come with eating disorders can include severe health risks and can lead to heart and kidney issues, hair loss, stroke, changes in bone density, and death. Unfortunately, eating disorders can also lead to drug or alcohol abuse as the sufferer attempts to curb their appetite or cope with the consequences of their decisions.

    It's especially important to deal with substance abuse immediately, so if you suspect your loved one has a problem with drugs or alcohol, let them know they are not alone. Offer to help them find a counselor, support group, or therapist. Remember that, even though you may want to help, there is only so much you can do. Try to be patient as your loved one attempts recovery, because it is never an easy path.

    It's important to remember that some of the stigmas surrounding eating disorders deal with the disorder itself; for instance, anorexia and bulimia are two of the most common forms, but they are not the only ones. Eating disorders are a complex combination of mental health and environmental factors and can include a wide variety of behaviors, such as starvation, chewing food and spitting it out, induced vomiting, over-exercising, and abusing diet pills, drinks, or laxatives. All of these behaviors can have serious physical effects.

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    Finding a job when you're a teenager is easy if you're just looking for something to help you earn cash over the summer; fast food restaurants and retail shops are always on the lookout for eager and willing young people who have flexible schedules. However, if you're a teen with a mental health or mood disorder - such as anxiety, OCD, or depression - it can be very difficult to find employment that doesn't require you to work with the public or in a crowded, noisy place.

    There are some options available to you if you know where to look, however. Here are some of the best jobs to look for.

    Dog boarding and dog walking

    Working from home is not always an option for teens, but being a dog boarder or pet sitter allows you to do just that. Taking care of other people's pets is a way to earn cash while bonding with an animal from the comfort of your own home; just make sure you meet any necessary age requirements and double check that it's cool with your parents or roommate. Once you're up and running as a pet sitter, create a checklist of information to get from each of your clients regarding their pet's routines and any medications they may need before the owner leaves.

    Another great option is dog walking. If you need something with flexible hours that's close to home, seek out clients who need a responsible person to come let out their dog while they're at work or out of town; you might even be able to find something within walking distance of your own home. Double-plus bonus? Working with animals is extremely soothing and is recommended for people suffering with many different types of disorders.

    Camp counselor

    While working with kids requires some patience, it can also be a wonderful way to fill your days and earn money doing something worthwhile, and it can also be a big self-esteem boost. Little ones will likely look up to you and learn from what you teach, which can help garner your confidence.

    Office work

    Working in an office setting can be great for people with anxiety, because it provides stability and the knowledge that each day will be structured a certain way. It's also a good way to keep stress levels down, especially if you can find a business that doesn't require too much outside of paperwork, answering phones, or filing.


    If solitude is what you're looking for, you might consider looking for a job in the field of housekeeping or office cleaning. These jobs are usually very flexible and will allow you to work alone or with a small team to get the job done. Large office buildings, hotels, and museums are just a few of the places you might look for work.

    Prep work/cook

    Let's face it: there are bound to be more jobs in the foodservice industry that are available to young people than many other businesses, so use it to your advantage. Many restaurants need cooks or people to come in early and do prep work - such as cutting up foods and getting everything put into the right containers for the day - and these are largely solitary jobs that offer flexible hours.

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