Addiction

6 Ways to Survive Your Teen’s Eating Disorder

If you have a teen who is struggling with an eating disorder, you know it can be overwhelming, frustrating, lonely, scary, and sometimes feel like a full-time job. Your teen may be reacting angrily one day and the next day melt on the floor in tears.

Eating disorders can disrupt family and work life, create stress in relationships and be a financial hardship. Here are some tips to weather the storm:
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Anorexia

10 Things Parents Wish Educators Knew about Eating Disorders


1. Eating disorders are real and deadly illnesses and having one is not a choice. Your reaction, as an administrator or teacher, to a disclosure of an eating disorder should be the same as if you were told a child had leukemia. Certain eating disorders have a mortality rate as high as 20 percent.

Eating disorders are up to 80 percent genetic, and they are biological in nature. Treatment has to be the number one priority, and the medical and psychological needs of the student should drive how school absences, attendance and other issues are handled.
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Anorexia

Body Image Battles

We indoctrinate our children to the ideals of beauty before they are out of diapers. These images come in the form of dolls such as Barbie and G.I. Joe, providing guidelines of what we are supposed to look like.

These images are only validated and expanded upon as we get older. The media, whether it’s in the form of a magazine or a television, only exacerbates the problem. Researchers have found that negative body image has a major impact on roughly 75 percent of the female university student population.

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Addiction

The Pathological Potential of the Prep Pad

New York Times health columnist Catherine Saint Louis recently covered the many upsides of a spanking new food analyzing device called the Prep Pad. In addition to weighing just how much food you’re about to consume, this unassuming 9-inch-by-6.25 gadget syncs easily with an iPad (generation 3 or higher) to tabulate the grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat whatever edible hits its scale has to offer -- along with the total number of calories these macronutirients add up to.

Exciting as this may be for well-meaning dieters and family food planners trying their best to be “healthy,” I can (un?)comfortably say I’m already concerned.
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3 Common Ways Eating Disorders Develop

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and overeating develop in people of all shapes and sizes, from all backgrounds and walks of life. Here are three common ways an eating disorder develops:

Low Self-Image or Self-Esteem


It may seem like common sense: Low self-confidence can lead to someone not caring for him- or herself. But the cause of a negative self-image can run much deeper than just body image. On the surface, an eating disorder seems to be all about weight, but the desire to reach a certain size may be a symptom of underlying self-loathing.

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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

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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