Addiction and Eating Disorders May 2015

This month our 7th grade cohort met up to learn about drug addiction and eating disorders. We started the evening by meeting with Kim, a mother whom lost her son to a heroin addiction and founder of Not One More, an organization that is striving to tell the story of addiction and preventing deaths from overdoses.

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Kim’s story of her son, was heartbreaking. We learned that she only had a few months with him once she found out about his addiction. When her son died, he was clean for a few months, and then just took one more dose, and it killed him. Her story really hit home the reality that once you become hooked on drugs, you never know when your last day will be, and recovery is a long, uphill battle. We watched 2 very emotional videos about those affected by addiction, one of which is here for you.

We received some pamphlets about addiction and the talk really opened up the possibility that drug addiction and overdoses can happen close to home.

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The group then turned their attention to eating disorders. In mentor/student matches the group got to researching different eating disorders. They presented what they learned, some of which was really quite surprising.

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Some facts that they found were:
-Between 5-20% of those suffering from Anorexia will die
-Anorexia has one of the highest death rates of all mental health conditions
-Patients who suffer from Bulimia notice that their behaviors are not normal
-Picky eating in the extreme is an eating disorder called Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)

Then we discussed how many times eating disorders are linked to anxiety and the drive to fit in with specific groups of people or stereotypes. We watched this video from Miss Repersentation, and were surprised by some of the statistics about women. One that caught the eye of a mentor was that within 3 minutes of looking at a fashion magazine, girls will feel ashamed of themselves.

Cause and Effect: How the Media You Consume Can Change Your Life from The Representation Project on Vimeo.

Now was the time for the group to express what they learned about eating disorders and society, so they got to create collages that either showed the juxtaposition of extreme skinniness and food, or as one mentor did, show how much magazines have changed, and portray women being strong and healthy.

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Hopefully, in the future when these students have their first interaction with heroin, they will remember Kim and her son’s story and will reject temptation, and will notice, in themselves or in their friends, when they start to get too sucked into their looks and will notice the signs of the many different eating disorders.