Helping Your Child Reduce Self-Harming Behavior

Self-harm, or inflicting physical harm onto one’s body to ease emotional distress, is not uncommon in kids and teens.

In fact, according to clinical psychologist Deborah Serani, PsyD, in her book Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers, about 15 percent of kids and teens engage in self-harm.

There are many forms of self-harm, including cutting, scratching, hitting and burning. Many kids and teens who self-harm also struggle with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, physical abuse or other serious concerns or psychological disorders.

These kids “don’t know how to verbalize their feelings, and instead, act them out by self-injuring,” Serani writes. Kids might self-harm to soothe deep sadness or other overwhelming emotions. They might do it to express self-loathing or shame. They might do it to express negative thoughts they can’t articulate. They might do it because they feel helpless.

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Addiction

Community: The Kinship of Thinspiration

From beneath her beautifully tiny, A-cup breasts, her smooth ribs, covered only by a thin layer of white flesh, peeked out, taunting me, reminding me of what I could never be.

Yet, at the same time, they gave me a glimmer of empty hope that one day my ribs may protrude like hers. One day, my hip bones may sharpen and stick out, my collar bone may reveal itself to the public, my thighs may one day stop touching.

At 13, I found myself sitting in my living room, my eyes glued to the screen of my family’s clunky, black desktop as I fantasized what it would be like to be this 18-year-old goddess whose long, wavy dirty-blonde hair hung limp and dry from her scalp in that sexy, I-don’t-care fashion, framing her thin, pale, drawn-out face, made paler by her piercing, bright blue eyes encased by her dark bags and heavy black eyeshadow.

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The Psychology of Eating Disorders

According to statistics provided by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), there are up to 24 million people in the United States who suffer from eating disorders. This includes people of all ages and both genders and can result in premature death or other serious health problems.

Although common perceptions regarding eating disorders involve a belief that the afflicted person has a desire to be thin, more often than not, there are other underlying causes behind an eating disorder.

Several factors can cause the onset of an eating disorder, or turn negative eating habits into a full-blown condition. These causes can include certain personality traits and psychological factors, high-stress events, abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and difficult family life.

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Anorexia

Can We Stamp Out Thinspiration on Twitter? Torri Singer Thinks We Can

Pro-anorexia (or "pro-ana") groups have been around online for over a decade, and we first discussed them here five years ago. More recently, with the rise of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, these groups have found a new life. Often associated with the label "thinspiration," these groups elevate the idea of being thin to a virtual religion.

People who are all about thinspiration engage in disordered eating in order to be as thin as possible -- a common symptom of anorexia. But they don't see it as a disorder or a problem, making this an insidious problem.

Nonetheless, such eating and self-image problems can result in health problems, even putting the individual's life at risk.

Some people have sought to get common words or terms that people engaged in thinspiration use banned from social networking websites. One such woman is Torri Singer, a broadcast journalism major who has recently begun a petition to get such terms banned from Twitter.

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Anorexia

Do Fashion Magazines Make You Feel Fat?

Want to feel better about your body?  Stop reading fashion magazines.

It's the holidays.  Magazines focus on our waistlines and ways to survive the season while keeping a slender figure. I'm all for good health, but we're frequently sold an image, product or diet that does not always result in good mental or physical health, particularly for women.

What’s your ideal weight?  In one alarming study, adolescent girls described their ideal girl as 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing a mere 100 pounds.

This ideal is -- at best -- unhealthy and, for many, anorexic. 

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Anorexia

The Secret & Silent Killer Behind Thinspiration


Beautiful images of fashion, art, vacation destinations, and food: what’s not to love about Pinterest?

Well, after seeing several pins labeled “thinspiration,” displaying overly thin women and quotes like, “All I want is to be happy, confident, and skinny as hell,” I decided it was time to speak up.

The image in this post is of me, back in my modeling days. This photo was very popular with friends and family on Facebook and with my followers on a modeling website I was a member of at the time.

If Pinterest had been around back then, I definitely would have pinned it for all to see.

Some may look at this image and see a woman that offers “thinspiration,” but the truth is actually much darker.

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Anorexia

Demi Lovato: A New Kind of Hollywood Role Model

Who inspires you? Who do you admire as a role model? I’m sure a lot of those answers can be found within your close circle of friends and family, but of course, there are also those who can lift you up from afar.

It's been hard in recent years to ignore young entertainers' breakdowns, drug habits, and bad behavior. Demi Lovato, a 20-year-old singer/songwriter, actress, and newly appointed judge on the talent show "The X Factor," has endured much internal struggle.

But she has courageously sought mental health assistance and boldly documented her journey to share with others for inspiration. Along with her “stay strong” motto, she’s demonstrated that obstacles can be overcome, which is what ultimately highlights her as a different type of role model.

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Anger

Can You Decrease Belly Fat with Mindfulness?

Did you know that our taste buds tire quickly? Yes, it’s true. If you’ve ever bitten into a piece of chocolate cake and found that first bite heavenly and then finished the cake barely noticing the taste of the final bite, then you’ve experienced tired taste buds.

Our taste buds are chemical sensors that pick up on taste acutely for the first few bites.  After eating a large amount, we may taste very little of what we’re eating.

So what does this have to do with belly fat and mindfulness?

According to clinical psychologist Jean Kristeller, PhD, president and co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating, many of us are eating too often and too much.

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Anorexia

Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related Disorders

Our current culture presents a confusing array of messages about eating and body image. We see media images which promote unrealistic (and generally unreal) bodies paired with headlines about obesity prevention programs; news stories about eating disorders alongside multiple supersize food options; push for perfection alongside marketing for indulgence.

It's no wonder we have both increasing incidents of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, as well as increasing prevalence of binge eating disorder and rates of obesity.

Navigating this confusing world without falling into an eating- or weight-related disorder does require a return to some basic facts.

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Why Do Women Hate Their Bodies?

Women’s National Health Week, an annual awareness event dedicated to all issues related to women’s health, was May 13-19 this year.

In honor of this year’s message, “It’s your time,” I want to draw attention to the link between how we see ourselves and how we treat our bodies.

Currently, 80 percent of women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance. And more than 10 million are suffering from eating disorders.

So the question I have to ask, Why all the self-hatred?

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Anorexia

My Psychotherapy Story for an Eating Disorder

I live in a town where eating disorder treatment is almost nonexistent. Feeling in danger of a relapse, I decided it was time to see a therapist. She was a licensed psychologist specializing in eating disorders and women's issues. I went voluntarily, not expecting what I received.

Everything was booked and set via email. My choice. I hate calling people. She mailed me all the paperwork from her office to bring with me on my first visit. What I loved when I first met her was that she didn't even want to look at the filled-out documents during session; she was eager to get down to talking. I was nervous being there, naturally, it's sensitive material being shared with a stranger. I remember which chair I sat in and how she sat on the couch.

Eager. Ready.

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Is Unresolved Trauma Preventing a Full Eating Disorder Recovery?

There is a strong correlation between trauma and eating disorders. A number of studies have shown that people who struggle with eating disorders have a higher incidence of neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse. In particular, binge eating disorder is associated with emotional abuse while sexual abuse has been linked to eating disorders in males.

So what constitutes trauma?

Trauma comes in many forms, including childhood abuse or neglect, growing up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional home, environmental catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina, a serious accident, loss of a loved one, and violent attacks such as rape and sexual assault. What all of these experiences have in common is that they leave the individual feeling helpless and out of control.

Trauma isn’t the same as having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a specific diagnosis with distinct criteria, involving a serious or life-threatening experience that results in nightmares, flashbacks, attempts to avoid situations similar to those that led to the trauma and a hyperactive startle response, among other symptoms.

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