Tag Archives: anorexia

The Threat of “Thinspiration”

The Threat of ThinspirationWhat is The Threat of Thinspiration About

In today’s society, many people especially young girls are bombarded with messages through the media on how they should look and feel about their bodies. Because teens make up an ideal target customer base for marketers, a significant amount of the media is targeted at young women. These images can create tremendous stress on an individual and as well as influence self-esteem and body image.

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Disordered Eating

Disordered EatingWhat is Disordered Eating?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating . Such an alarming statistic for a problem that is so real but what do these words really mean and how can we substantiate a difference between them? Webster defines the word disorder as ‘an abnormal physical or mental condition’. An eating disorder mirrors both abnormal mental and physical patterns making it one of the deadliest psychiatric disorders. It is often characterized by disordered eating behaviors, distorted attitudes about food, and/or inadequate ways of weight control. The most common diagnoses are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and eating disorders not otherwise specified (ED NOS).

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Information About Anorexia

Information About AnorexiaInformation About Anorexia Can Save the Life of a Loved One

Anorexia Nervosa is a life threatening mental health illness that affects millions of people each year.  According to the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a person must meet the following criteria in order to be diagnosed:

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Who is Ana?

 

The Internet has changed how we access information.  It can be gathered more quickly and easily than in days past.  Unfortunately, the Internet can also be a breeding group for destructive information.  One of the types of destructive information found on the Internet is how to act on and conceal eating disorder behavior. 

            “Ana” has become a way to refer to Anorexia and “Mia” to Bulimia on websites known as “pro-ana” or “pro-mia” websites.  These Internet pages usually list tips for maintaining an eating disorder such as cutting calories and dealing with hunger, for instance.  Additionally, many suggest eating behavior that can be classified as an eating ritual, or a way of eating food which lessens the stress of eating.  Tips for how to conceal weight loss from concerned parties may also be found. 

            Additionally, pictures of thin celebrities are posted and are known as “thinspiration,” pictures of underweight or extremely thin body types which become goals.  Most of these sites also contain message boards in which those with eating disorders can obtain “support” for their lifestyle.  Many of these message board administrators claim that eating disorders, especially anorexia, are a lifestyle choice and can be lived out in a “healthy “way. 

            Ana and Mia are symbolic of the identity that some clients find in their eating disorder.  Thinking of the presence of an eating disorder in this way causes issues because it is difficult to think of how one would recover from an identity or a lifestyle.  These online communities offer support for the “stigma” against this chosen way of living and serve as roadblocks to recovery. 

            What can be done about the type of thinking put forth by these websites?  First, we must accept that this type of information exists and is unlikely to go away due to the free-speech aspect of the Internet.  Internet blocks can be installed if this type of Internet usage is suspected.

            Second, what we can do is be aware of these sites and aware of the fact that anorexia or bulimia may be seen as a way or life or an identity by certain clients.  Acknowledging this allows us to approach those we care about or care for in a way that is closer to how they approach the issue, which may foster communication. 

            Third, these sites tend to provide community and support for their visitors. However, this support is supporting a destructive lifestyle.  All people seek community, but the type of community provided is important.  Help the person to find a support group focused on recovery and which may help to separate the identity of Ana from their own identity.  Foster the activities that they wish to do which are different from the things that Ana wishes to do such as going to college, freely spending time with friends or gaining back time that is not focused on food.  Instead of asking “Who is Ana?” we can hope that they will begin to ask “Who am I?”

 

References
Fox, N., Ward, K., & O’Rourke, A. (2005). Pro-anorexia, weight-loss drugs and the internet: An ‘anti-recovery’ explanatory model of anorexia. Sociology of Health & Illness, 27(7), 944-  971. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2005.00465.x
Gavin, J., Rodham, K., & Poyer, H. (2008). The presentation of “Pro-anorexia” in online group     interactions. Qualitative Health Research, 18(3), 325-333.            doi:10.1177/1049732307311640

Help for Eating Disorders

Help for Eating DisordersHow to Find Help For Eating Disorders

The number of children between the ages of 10 and 20 that need help for eating disorders in increasing at an alarming rate. It is estimated that currently 10% of our youth have some form of eating disorder and that number is expected to continue to rise. The vast majority of these children are girls who are convinced that they must look like the latest waifs on the silver screen or in their favorite music videos.

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Center for Discovery – Teenage Eating Disorders

Teenage Eating Disorders are More Common than You Think

While you might think that you are all alone in the world when your child is diagnosed as having an eating disorder, you definitely are not. Teenage eating disorders affect thousands of teenagers and run the full gamut from Anorexia to Bulimia and binge eating. Today’s teens are under a tremendous amount of pressure from their peers and from the way that Hollywood seems to project the concept of the perfect body.

Teenage eating disorders need to be caught and treated at the earliest possible stage in order to prevent them from experiencing permanent physical and psychological harm. If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, you need to seek professional help immediately. In many cases outpatient therapy such as that offered at the Center for Discovery can help, in more severe cases we offer a complete residential program specifically for those between the ages of 10 and 19.

Center for Discovery – Eating Disorders

There are Several Well –Known Eating Disorders

When you hear the words “eating disorders” your mind, like most people” probably pictures the rail thin late teenage girl with anorexia. While this particular eating disorder is one of the most prevalent, perhaps driven by the image that is projected by movie stars and models that only when you are thin do you look good. This is only one of the major eating disorders, the other are bulimia and binge eating.

Both anorexia and bulimia result in your child not getting the nutrition that their bodies need to thrive and can lead to major health problems such as organ failure that can lead to death. At the opposite end of the scale is the binge eater. Typically this child will eat when he or she is having emotional problems such as being picked on at school. They consume large quantities of food and in most cases are either borderline obese or are obese.

All of these eating disorders have one thing in common; they require professional help to regain control of their eating habits and their lives before their problems become so severe that they die. At Center for Discovery we specialize in helping teens learn to overcome their disease and get their lives back in order.