It really depends on how much damage you did. But yes, starvation can permanently slow metabolism: I know it did mine to a minor degree, even though mine was due to poverty and illness, not to intentional starvation.
I have done a few projects with women who are recovered anorexics whose body types or size, essentially, were permanently changed. You can imagine how hard it would be for an anorextic to have to deal with that too, when accepting an average-sized or even very thin body is often hard enough. The women I know who have learned to accept the whole bag -- and even love their larger bodies later -- are really amazing people.
Again, if you have an ED, don't figure out how long you can have it before you get terribly ill. A change in metabolism is really the least of your worries, though I can understand that to someone eating disordered, who needs very much to feel they can control their appearance and size, that permanent weight gain one cannot repair would be very scary. But serious bone loss, heart problems, loss of hair, skin maladies -- all of the long-term effects are serious.
So, if you do have an ED now, again, I encourage you to seek out help and treatment now, not later. Not just to avoid all those effects, but also to give yourself a decent quality of life and health right now.
You know, when I was a teenager, I didn't think I'd be able to live to see my high school graduation. I had plenty of reasons for thinking that, but the fact of the matter is that all of us are a lot stronger than we think, and we change a lot as we grow, especially when we get help and treatment when we need it.
People live through things you likely can't even fathom. Being fat isn't a death sentence: in fact, plenty of people are size love their bodies, likely more than you do your not-fat body, honey. And your ED is a lot of WHY you're not going to be able to see yourself as amazing, because EDs are, in part, due to self-esteem problems.
And ED and cutting are things you need help with and treatment for. You get that and really work through things over a few years, chances are really, really good you won't feel like you do anymore.
Therapy is private. No one else but you (and your folks, if you like) and your therapist needs to know. And heck, if you really feel you won't be able to live with a ruined metabolism, then it's certainly in your best interest to get past hurting your body and mind this way sooner rather than later so you can have a healthy body.
[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 05-21-2004).]
Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998
Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.