Women in the Navy with Eating Disorders

Women in the Navy with Eating DisordersMillions of strong, intelligent young women serve actively in the US Navy. Female sailors and officers provide invaluable service throughout the Navy as they demonstrate character, grit and wisdom. However, the pressure of military service also uniquely challenges some women. For instance, the frequency of eating disorders continues to rise as more and more women report for duty.

How Eating Disorders Develop

Most people misunderstand the cause of eating disorders. These dangerous disorders are not limited to teens and supermodels, because many women who suffer with these problems struggle with control. As strange as it may seem, binge eating, purging and starving are all ways that some women psychologically comfort themselves during stress, insecurity, fear or depression. This is because of how the brain handles emotions, anxiety and appetite.

The prefrontal cortex of the brain manages all of the following functions:

  • Eating and appetite
  • Sleeping and waking
  • Impulse control
  • Anger management
  • Stress and anxiety response
  • Mood regulation
  • Responding to panic or danger
  • Self-esteem and optimism
  • Forming and recalling memories

Trace amounts of “feel good” chemicals are released into the bloodstream when a person eats, and other chemicals appear when a person is hungry. In the same way that things like pain, thrill seeking and spending money can become addictive, eating disorders chemically comfort women. As anxiety builds over the eating disorder, sailors open themselves up to increased risk of depression, substance abuse and thoughts of suicide. Eating disorders are deadly psychological diseases, so they can cause immense suffering if they go untreated.

Challenges Facing Navy Women

While eating disorders are incredibly difficult for any woman to conquer, the following aspects of Navy service make it less likely that these patients will seek help:

  • The image of toughness and independence keeps many women from admitting that they have a problem
  • Being far removed from family and friends increases the risk of loneliness and anxiety which can fuel eating disorders
  • A fear of gaining weight causes many Navy women to starve themselves to stay thin
  • The stress and anxiety of active duty can trigger self-comforting behaviors that are uncontrollable
  • Women in active duty may fear the loss of their standing or future in the Navy if they seek help

These issues are all lies that keep people from drug abuse, so get help today to safeguard both your body and future.

Help for Navy Women with Eating Disorders

Just as military health experts increasingly tackle several problems, they are turning their attention to the risks and frequency of eating disorders. If you struggle with anorexia or bulimia in the Navy, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline anytime. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to get well. Don’t risk your career, health or life for one more day. Call now and let us help you find the help you need.