Did you know that as well as substance addiction, Eating Disorders is one of the most physically damaging mental health conditions?
Regardless of age or background, it appears that having an unhealthy relationship with food is typical for a large percentage of the population. It’s no secret that the media is largely responsible for making people believe that to be attractive and desirable one must look a certain way. It is therefore no surprise that since the boom of social media, the prevalence of eating disorders has more than doubled internationally. With 90% of cases being diagnose before adulthood, it is clear that from a young age we are being conditioned to believe the photoshopped and airbrushed images we see online are healthy and naturally achievable.
Social media places a huge emphasis on image, and visual aesthetics. Instead of focusing on being pleased with yourself due to your array of attributes, there is now a tendency to place an unnecessary emphasis on weight and size. It can be difficult not to place such importance on our appearance as it is often the images that we post (rather than our brilliant and unique qualities), that determines the level of attention we receive in the form of likes and followers, which acts as a reward and can be highly addictive.
Once disordered eating kicks in, we stop basing our self-worth on how kind, funny, clever or creative we are and instead hone in on the number on a set of scales. It can be soul destroying to fixate on controlling what goes in your mouth. Even simple outings with friends can feel like a stressful exercise you’d rather avoid. Sadly, most people who have issues around body image keep it a secret because of the shame that is attached to it all.
Please don’t suffer in silence.
Understanding the relationship between eating disorders and self-esteem and gently moving beyond the calories while reaching for a more meaningful existence is the ticket to a happier life. At Plenish Mind Health, we feel nothing but empathy and compassion for people struggling with food issues and appreciate the complexity of the problem.