In the News: Lady Gaga Battled Bulimia and Anorexia

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         Lady Gaga exploded into superstardom just four years ago when her “The Fame” album hit stands in 2008 and spawned number one hits like Just Dance and Poker Face. Since then she’s given us, Fame Monster (remember Telephone with Beyonce?) and Born This Way. We’ve seen her perform half naked, walk red carpets in bizarre outfits (even a meat dress), walk the runways of Milan and Paris, fight for gay rights and anti-bullying all over the world. Many have attacked her in-your-face attitude and say that her music and fashion is too vulgar. I have to disagree with her critics and say that she’s just the average American who’s had her good and bad days. Now we know that alongside her past addiction to cocaine she’s also a person whose battled an eating disorder.

In all honesty it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Gaga did not invent this wheel; she’s just giving it another spin. Many artists before her have express themselves very loudly through their sexuality and fashion – artists like Grace Jones, Elton John,  Janet Jackson, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Cher, and Donna Summer. The need to express oneself is not singular to Lady Gaga or to anyone else; it’s a universal need for all human beings.

So when tabloids attacked her for gaining weight she was quick to fire back and rightfully so if I may add. Gaga posted four pictures of herself (one depicted above) on her fan website www.littlemonsters.com in which she is in her underwear, sans Photoshop or makeup proudly displaying her body.

The captions above each photo read: “Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15… But today I join the BODY REVOLUTION…. To Inspire Bravery…. and BREED some … COMPASSION.”

The Body Revolution section of the fan website has been flooded with fan photos of their bodies – some overweight, underweight, scarred, healthy, unhealthy, disfigured; a true depiction of the impact of eating disorders. News media outlets need to take more responsibility for scrutinizing celebrities’ weight. With the added 25 lbs. to her frame you can clearly see that she is nowhere near being overweight or unhealthy. It’s a shame that she’s being bullied about it.

Eating disorders are so common in America that 1 to 2 out of every 100 students will struggle with one. Each year, thousands of teens develop eating disorders, problems with weight, eating, or body image. The two most common forms of eating disorders are Anorexia and Bulimia. Many more women than men have anorexia and bulimia. The disorder is most common in adolescent girls and young women. The affected person is usually aware that her eating pattern is abnormal and may feel fear or guilt but the obsession and need to restrict binge or purge food is too strong to stop.

The exact causes of anorexia and bulimia are unknown. Genetic, psychological, trauma, family, society, or cultural factors may play a role.

Anorexia Nervosa
People with anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to as anorexia, are fearful of gaining weight and have a distorted body image. Anorexics will do anything to continuously lose weight like go on strict and extreme diets that require them to eat very little (if anything at all), exercise non-stop, purge their food, and take laxatives.  Anorexics tend to be extremely underweight and suffer from medical problems like decaying teeth, severe malnutrition, loss of period and thyroid gland problems. Anorexia is a serious condition and has led up to death in about 10% of all cases.

Behavioral signs of Anorexia:

  • Cutting food into small pieces or moving them around the plate instead of eating
  • Exercising all the time, even when the weather is bad, they are hurt, or their schedule is busy
  • Going to the bathroom right after meals
  • Refusing to eat around other people
  • Using pills to make themselves urinate (water pills or diuretics), have a bowel movement (enemas and laxatives), or decrease their appetite (diet pills)

Other symptoms of anorexia may include:

  • Blotchy or yellow skin that is dry and covered with fine hair
  • Confused or slow thinking, along with poor memory or judgment
  • Depression
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme sensitivity to cold (wearing several layers of clothing to stay warm)
  • Loss of bone strength
  • Wasting away of muscle and loss of body fat

Bulimia Nervosa
People with bulimia nervosa, commonly referred to as bulimia, also are fearful of gaining weight and have distorted body images. Bulimics usually combine binge eating and purging as a way to prevent weight gain. They will binge on large amounts of food, mostly alone, and then purge afterwards. Bulimics tend to be either overweight or at a “healthy” weight.  Many people with bulimia are also considered anorexic.

Behavioral signs of Bulimia:

  • Binge eating on high calorie foods in private and feeling guilty afterwards
  • Using pills to make themselves urinate (water pills or diuretics), have a bowel movement (enemas and laxatives), or decrease their appetite (diet pills)
  • Compulsive exercise
  • Suddenly eating large amounts of food or buying large amounts of food that disappear right away
  • Regularly going to the bathroom right after meals
  • Throwing away packages of laxatives, diet pills, emetics (drugs that cause vomiting), or diuretics

Other symptoms of Bulimia may include:

  • Broken blood vessels in the eyes (from the strain of vomiting)
  • Dry mouth
  • Pouch-like look to the cheeks
  • Rashes and pimples
  • Small cuts and calluses across the tops of the finger joints from forcing oneself to vomit

As you can see Anorexia and Bulimia are serious health disorders and as a society we need to take a stance and say enough is enough. We shouldn’t glorify unhealthy body images and tell men and women that it’s okay to hurt your body as long as you’re thin. Kudos to Lady Gaga for sticking it to those tabloids!

If you or someone you know needs treatment for their addiction and an eating disorder please call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at www.palmpartners.com.

 

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001401/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001381/
http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/mental_health/eat_disorder.html#
http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/25/showbiz/lady-gaga-body/index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Gaga
http://littlemonsters.com/#gaga
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/25/lady-gaga-weight-singer-bulimic-teenager_n_1913701.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity#slide=more214509
http://style.mtv.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/outrageous-lady-gaga.jpg