Will mentioned earlier in this blog that he’s always on the lookout for famous people coping with mental disorders. They can be inspirational – but in some cases, negatively so.

“Thinspiration” images used in eating disorders are popular with the pro-ana movement and often feature celebrities. Mary-Kate Olsen, Lindsay Lohan, and even the first celebrity eating disorder in the news, Karen Carpenter, are viewed as role models. Idolized. Glamorous photos of very thin bodies presented as the height of beauty are traded in some ED forums. Although any angular supermodel can suffice as thinspiration, it’s the celebrities who share the diagnosis that are special, offer a perceived kinship that is in some ways quite positive. It’s comforting to know someone understands your pain, and recovered.

But to suffer more pain in order to try and look like the disordered, glamorized bodies is pathological, and must be factored into treatment. Celebrity gossip can be triggering. Unlike famous people with bipolar disorders and other types of mental disorder not associated with body dysmorphia, in the instance of anorexia, bulimia, ED-NOS, etc. it may not helpful to laud role models. For every ED consumer who may be inspired to seek help, there are others who find it reinforcing.

Read more about pro-ana and celebrities.