The Effect of Social Media and Eating Disorders

By: Sarah Cohen

Eating disorders are extremely serious and often deadly illnesses that include severe disturbances in eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. There have been numerous studies in which mass media consumption of the “thin ideal body” has been linked to eating disorders among women. Pressure from media has led to women and men internalizing the “thin ideal body” and led to extreme body dissatisfaction which can then lead to eating disorders. While the effect is smaller among men, they are still being subjected to pressure.

Studies have shown “significant change in the weight and size of female and male models portrayed throughout the media in western society and the concept of the ‘perfect or ideal body’.” This explains “why many adolescents are preoccupied with their bodies and dissatisfied with their body image and are willing to try a variety of dangerous weight-loss practices in their quest for the perfect body.”

Most people are usually not aware the amount of manipulation and digital editing done in the fashion industry to create ‘ideal’ female and male bodies. These false images encourage unrealistic and unhealthy standards that are impossible to attain. One study focused on body concerns in girls 16 years old and tried to understand the underlying motivations to be skinny. The element that exerted the largest pressure to be smaller was the media. Another study measured indicators of eating disorders in a population of young Fijian girls after the addition of Western television to their routine. The indicators of eating disorders were exceptionally more prevalent after extended television viewing, demonstrating a negative impact of media. A large component of the data recorded was the theme of subjects describing a new interest in weight loss as a method of modelling themselves after the television characters they viewed.

In order to prevent the effect of social media on disordered eating, here are three tips: choose what media you view and participate in carefully, limit the amount of exposure you have, and test each media’s message for body positivity by asking critical questions about what information they are attempting to spread.

If you or someone you know needs support with their marriage, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792687/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792687/

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/media-eating-disorders

Tiggemann M, Gardiner M, Slater A. “I would rather be size 10 than have straight A’s”: A focus group study of adolescent girls’ wish to be thinner. J Adolesc. 2000;23:645–59.

Becker AE, Burwell RA, Gilman SE, Herzog DB, Hamburg P. Eating behaviours and attitudes following exposure to television among ethnic Fijian adolescent girls. Br J Psychiatry. 2002;180:509–14.

Orthorexia Nervosa: an eating disorder in disguise

By Argie Dabrowski

Eating disorders are characterized by unhealthy relationships with food, whether it be excessive or restricted intake or cycles of binging and purging. The most common eating disorders today are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Orthorexia nervosa is a proposed eating disorder that, paradoxically, revolves around healthy eating. Orthorexic people are not focused on losing weight. Instead, they are trying to achieve the perfect diet, which they believe will be the solution to all of their problems.

Although not officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, orthorexia nervosa has been the topic of many studies and can still be as dangerous as more well-known eating disorders. Those with orthorexia only eat food that fits their standards, such as only containing whole grains or being vegan. This means that they avoid many foods that they see as unclean or unhealthy. Some orthorexic individuals also avoid foods they believe they are allergic too, without actual advice from medical professionals.

At its core, orthorexia is an obsession and those who suffer from it are not simply eating healthy but revolving their entire lives around what and when they eat. Those who have orthorexia have described being completely fixated on food, making it difficult for them to maintain healthy social relationships. These people often avoid social events that involve eating, such as parties, because the food served may not meet their criteria for “healthy” eating. They connect their rigid diet to mortality, as well. Because of this, when failing to meet the standards of their rigid diets, these people feel immense guilt and anxiety.

Besides weight loss, orthorexic people often experience isolation due to the aforementioned social strains. This can lead to depression and further anxiety. Orthorexia nervosa is often clinically treated in a similar manner to anorexia nervosa and obsessive compulsive disorder, which is through exposure to avoided foods.

If you or someone you know needs support for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources:
pro.psychcentral.com/3-warning-signs-that-a-patient-might-be-struggling-with-orthorexia/
psychcentral.com/blog/understanding-orthorexia/
pro.psychcentral.com/orthorexia-nervosa-disease-that-masquerades-as-health/
nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/other/orthorexia

Image Source:
ojo.pe/mujer/el-color-de-los-vegetales-280442-noticia/

Health and Weight

By Zuzanna Myszko

“Healthism” is a new term that has been coined because of the social link that has been created between morality and health. Because health is seen to be heavily related to weight, people who are overweight are often seen as “lazy” and “over-indulgent,” which are extremely harmful generalizations that make overweight people seem immoral.

Research has shown that the connection between health and weight is not as clear as we once thought. One may participate in health-promoting activities and still be overweight because of metabolic rate, genetics, biological influence, and environmental factors. Therefore, healthism stigmatizes the overweight individual and affects his or her self-image in all aspects of life.

Some specific factors that may be promoting weight gain include:

  • Increased accessibility to high-calorie foods and drinks.
  • Lower prices of high-calorie foods and drinks.
  • Increased prices of fruits and vegetables.
  • Living in food deserts, which are areas where affordable and nutritious food are hard to obtain.
  • Lack of public transport to get to grocery stores.
  • Low safety in some areas.
  • Environmental toxins.

Also, dieting, usually touted as the solution to obesity, has shown to be ineffective. People usually bounce back to the weight they were before beginning the diet. More importantly, dieters do not usually experience an increase in well-being and health outcomes.

Additionally, the judgment of others based on their weight implies that they should not be allowed to be responsible for their own bodies, which is an absurd assumption. All people have the right to autonomy when it comes to their bodies.

In the end, healthism has an excessively negative effect on the mental health of those impacted starting at a very young age. Many experience eating disorders as a result. Therefore, people who are generally termed “overweight” must focus on the facts and create a positive relationship with their body.

 

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from issues related to weight or eating disorders, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Image: https://playzoa.com/book-of-womens-exercise-pants-petite-in-spain.html

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/real-healing/201901/health-and-weight

Group Therapy

Alice Cordero

According to psychcentral.com, Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy treatment where several people meet together under the supervision of a therapist in a particular setting. Group therapy is a form of therapy that can be used in conjunction with individual therapy and medication.  The benefits of group therapy include:

  • Modeling
    • Patients are able to witness how others in the group cope with their problems in positive ways and apply it to their lives.
    • Patients learn from other group member’s mistakes.
  • Helps improve social skills
    • In group therapy, most of the time each individual has to share something about themselves and how they are doing; this helps improve the patient’s interpersonal relationships and understand that they are not alone in this particular process.
  • Increased feedback
    • Provides patients with different perspectives/ coping methods
    • Gives patients a view of how others handle their particular situation
    • Provides individuals with personal feedback through other patients perceptions of themselves
  • Support Network
    • Having multiple individuals who are going through the same gives each patients the opportunity to build a support system that they can use

 

Group therapy involves members expressing their feelings, problems, ideas, and reactions towards other members. Studies have shown that group therapy has been effective in addressing countless problems, including: anxiety, depression, addictive disorders, substance abuse, death, lifestyle issues, and relationship issues.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the conditions listed above or think you/ they could benefit from group therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.