Mental health disorders and substance abuse disorder affect millions of people in the United States each year. These disorders are often under diagnosed by healthcare professionals, overlooked by the media and carry a negative stigma within our society. Over the years, more recognition and awareness has been raised however our society can continue to make strides towards strengthening our mental health community. National Prevention Week is an annual national awareness week that takes place in during the third week in May (May15th-20th this year) in order to improve community involvement, enhance mental health partner engagement and increase mental health recourse sharing on a community, state and national level. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) the three primary goals of this annual awareness week are the following:
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by eating excessive amounts of food in a short period (binging) followed by guilt and shame leading to self-induced vomiting, extreme exercise, or laxative abuse (purging). Unlike anorexia nervosa, many individuals with bulimia nervosa are of normal body weight or are overweight. There are many different of causes leading to the development of bulimia nervosa including biological causes such as genetics, hormones and neurotransmitters, developmental factors such as trauma in childhood, psychological factors such as underlying mental health disorders and sociocultural factors such as peer pressure and body image distortion.
Fashion, runways, magazines and billboards are all saturated by tall, thin, beautiful women with flawless skin and perfect body shapes however the modeling industry is one of the most unhealthy industries worldwide. Eating disorders affect 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States and in a recent poll, 62 percent of models have reported being asked to lose weight or change the shape of their body in order to be hired by a modeling agency and these women were already underweight according to the World Health Organization (WHO) standards. Additional studies have shown that up to 18 percent of professional models report restrictions and up to 60 percent report bulimic episodes in the previous three months. The fashion industry promotes dieting and thinness as a sign of beauty which has resulted in many young girls going to extreme lengths to lose weight at any cost. The average model weighs 60 pounds less and is five inches taller than the average American woman. Recognizing the signs and symptoms associated with eating disorders, raising awareness, pushing for legislation within the modeling world and using your consumer power to choose which companies you purchase clothing from; can give the general public an upper hand over the fashion industry.
Bulimic behavior refers to engaging in manners associated with bulimia nervosa. Although an individual who practices bulimic behavior may not be officially diagnosed with bulimia nervosa, it is important to understand this disorder in order to be able to recognize signs and symptoms associated with bulimic behavior.
Bulimia nervosa is a serious emotional eating disorder that involves eating excessive amounts of food in a short period (binging) followed by guilt and shame leading to self-induced vomiting, extreme exercise, or laxative abuse (purging). Many refer to it as the binge and purge eating disorder. Bulimia nervosa is often associated with depression, anxiety and self-harm behaviors such as cutting. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM5), defines bulimia nervosa by the five following criteria:
National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is nationally sponsored by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and takes place on May 4th 2017. This year’s theme is “Partnering for Health and Hope” and Olympic medalists, Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt will be hosting this event in Washington D.C. This day will feature the importance of social, emotional, physical, behavioral and mental needs of children and young adults throughout the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), approximately 20 percent of all children in the Unites States either currently, or at some point in their life, will be diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Common mental health disorders in children 8-15 years of age order of prevalence include the following:
May is National Foster Care Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the time and commitment from foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, child mental health professionals and family therapist who help children in foster care find permanent homes and connections. According to statistics there are more than 400,00 children in foster care.
May is considered the National Maternal Depression Awareness Month recognizing the seriousness of depression during and after pregnancy. Mothers are usually the cornerstones of every family. They help provide the family with emotional support, love, financial obligations, and household chores and do a large amount of the child rearing. When a mother is sick or under stress the whole family, including her children can suffer tremendously. For many pregnancy can be the happiest time in one’s life however in other pregnancy can be extremely stressful resulting in mental and physical illness. Studies have shown that mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression impact 15-20 percent of women during pregnancy and the postpartum period. These mental health disorders can have long-term consequences on a mother and her family including her infant’s cognitive and behavioral development, the well being of other children and her relationship stability. Postpartum blues, postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are well-known mental health disorders affecting mothers and unfortunately not enough recognition and awareness is given to these disorders.
Since 1949, national mental health organizations across the United States have dedicated the month of May as National Mental Health month to raise awareness and break the stigma on mental health disorders. According to statistics, approximately one in five Americans will be affected by a mental health condition at least once in their lifetime and this impact has a major ripple effect on their friends and family. Four of the 10 leading causes of disability in the United States and other developed countries are mental health disorders, specifically major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Throughout the month of May, mental health organizations and advocates will be rallying and raising awareness about the importance of maintaining good mental health and seeking treatment for mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and eating disorders.
According to an article in the Washington Post, “A size 8 dress today is nearly the equivalent of a size 16 dress in 1958. And a size 8 dress of 1958 doesn’t even have a modern-day equivalent — the waist and bust measurements of a Mad Men-era 8 come in smaller than today’s size 00”.
Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder are recognized by psychologists and psychiatrists around the world and can result in severe co-morbidities and even death if left untreated. With the continued social stigma attached to eating disorders and in general, mental health disorders; often times it can be challenging to discern the truth from fiction. New innovations in treatment and new insights on eating disorders are continuously being published however the mainstream media often does not shed light on these important findings. Below are three published articles that had eating disorders professionals talking this week.