A fashion piece called “Celebrities Without Makeup” can make an effective social education for young girls at risk for eating disorders. I first saw something like this from a ad put together by Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and posted about it.
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Here is a heads up for parents of kids vulnerable to eating disorders. There is a growing support network on the Internet to help young girls “improve” on their eating disorders. Connecting with others feels supportive, especially those who are like minded. But in fact, the “Pro-Ana” (Pro-Anorexia) groups encourage unhealthy behavior and feed the preoccupation with being thin and losing weight. About 15% of those diagnosed with Anorexia die from complications of starvation.
Shame has been a particular interest for me. It has appeared repeatedly as a major barrier in therapy, especially in those for whom therapy has failed in the past. It takes a lot of courage to re-enter therapy after feeling it was previously insufficient. Fortunately, a person returning to therapy after a less than satisfactory experience is significant motivated to try new ideas. Agreeing to therapy is a humbling experience in and of itself.
Sort of contagious. You see, there are a lot of symptomatic behaviors that are subject to imitation. Drug abuse, cutting, suicidal behavior and eating disorders are just a few examples. When like minded people get together, they inspire imitative behavior in each other. It is unlikely that they are sharing the behavior in each other’s presence, but they are seruptitiously comparing notes. Therapists are very much aware of this potential for contagion.
Eating Disorders include Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binging Disorder. Unfortunately, most often, eating disorders, even with rigorous studies, have been studied as if they are related disorders. While there appears to be some relationship, between them, there are important differences. Anorexia is one of the most deadly forms of mental illness. The mortality rate is about 10%. Stice (2002)
Eating disorders are one of the most common psychiatric problems faced by women and girls and are characterized by chronicity and relapse.
Isn’t it sad that our most effective and pervasive education sources (TV) and other media is full of images that are not real, raise expectations for ourselves and others, and sets us up to feel inadequate. Those feelings help create in some girls a frenzied obsession with appearance that sometimes leads to eating disorders, some of which are deadly. And they make a few people rich. Thanks to Isn’t it sad that our most effective and pervasive education sources (TV) and other media is full of images that are not real, raise expectations for ourselves and others, and sets us up to feel inadequate.