National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, February 22-28, 2015
February 24, 2015
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But an image is not always a true representation of reality. From Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr to fashion magazines and reality shows, we are bombarded with images that have been created, filtered, manipulated, and staged. And it’s often very difficult to sift through what’s real and what’s not.
This is precisely why Dove began its
Campaign for Real Beauty
—to start a global discussion surrounding the definition of real beauty. It first conducted a study titled “
The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report
,” which revealed that less than 2% of women worldwide considered themselves beautiful. In a
Dove Real Sketches video
, participants were asked to describe themselves to an artist, who drew them behind a curtain, using only their descriptions of themselves as a guide. Then the same women returned to describe fellow participants. The difference between the two drawings was astonishing, and it revealed how hard we are on ourselves versus how others see us.
According to the
National Eating Disorder Association
(NEDA), 30 million people will be affected by an eating disorder during their lifetime. A full 69% of American school-age girls who read magazines say that the pictures they see influence how their concept of an ideal body shape. Boys are also affected, and largely because of cultural bias and stereotypes, they are much less likely to seek treatment. In addition, teen athletes are more at risk of developing an eating disorder or having a negative body image.
It is daunting to compete with society and media, so the NEDA has developed an
to help those in schools reach out to students suffering from an eating disorder. It covers everything from myths surrounding these disorders (e.g., that eating disorders are a choice; p. 6) to school strategies for assisting these students (p. 11). NEDA also has a
Feeding Hope Fund
, which grants funding to researchers who are seeking out new ways to combat this illness.
Some of the
most groundbreaking work
has been done related to connecting genetics to eating disorders, according to Amy Novotny in an
published in the American Psychological Association publication the
. One study by
demonstrates that heritability influences disordered eating most when estrogen levels are highest, and another suggests that in some females, bulimia may be hard-wired.
are contributing to the healing process in a different way: the organization, started by two women who suffered from eating disorders, provides scholarship funding for those who can’t afford treatment. And still others are trying innovative interventions, including
, which could encourage participants to view their bodies in a more compassionate way.
The NEDA Web site offers a plethora of resources, including a resource page with contact information and a
(1-800-931-2237) for those who may know someone who suffers from an eating disorder. Visit NEDA’s
page to learn more about how to raise awareness.
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Eating Disorders on the Rise among Older Women
Although more common in teens and young women, eating disorders are affecting a growing number of older women, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. The research, led by Cynthia Bulik, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of North Carolina, surveyed 1,849 women aged 50 years and older from across the U.S. The survey included questions about eating disorder symptoms, dieting and body checking behaviors, and weight and shape concerns. Among the sometimes surprising results, 13 percent of those surveyed reported eating disorder symptoms such as excessive dieting, binge eating, and purging; 62 percent said that their weight or shape has a negative impact on their lives. “The disorders have serious physical as well as emotional consequences,” said Bulik in a June 21 interview with USA Today. “Part of my goal is to make this an issue all doctors need to be aware of regardless of a woman’s age. Many think eating disorders end at age 25. They exist at every age, we're finding.” Although eating disorders ...
Food for Thought on Eating Disorders
Research from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has found that following a steady increase in the number of hospitalizations for eating disorders from 1999 to 2007, the number of individuals checking into hospitals with these principal diagnoses has fallen by 23 percent from 2007 to 2009, the latest year for which numbers are available. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, with anorexia specifically being the leading cause of mortality in women between the ages of 15 and 24. During this time period, the severity of reported eating disorders decreased, as well. However, patients found to have eating disorders were often hospitalized for other presenting conditions, such as depression, fluid or electrolyte disorders, schizophrenia, or alcohol-related issues. Statistics showed that although 90 percent of those suffering from eating disorders were female, eating disorders in men increased 53 percent since 2007. In light of the recent decrease in eating disorders, from 1999 to 2009, hospitalizations skyrocketed 93 percent for the disorder pica. Pica is usually diagnosed in women and children and causes them to eat inedible ...
PAR Supports National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day
May 8, 2014 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), PAR is proud to be a supporter of this national event. National launch activities will be held during the National Council for Behavioral Health annual conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, DC. Registration for the Awareness Day general session and the “What Really Works for Young Adults: A Candid Conversation” workshop is free. Even if you are not going to be in Washington, DC for the event, you can show your support during one of the many local events taking place throughout the country that promote the importance of caring for every child’s mental health. You can also tune into the live Webcast of the national launch event on May 6 from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. EDT. Awareness Day focuses on positive mental health and its important relationship to a child’s healthy development. More than 1,100 communities and 136 national organizations are collaborating to make this year’s event bigger and better than ever.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month
In 1949, Mental Health Month was founded to bring attention to the importance of mental health issues in America. President Barack Obama issued a decree on April 30 in honor of this month. He stressed the idea that people should reach out if they feel they are in need of help. “For many, getting help starts with a conversation,” he stated. “People who believe they may be suffering from a mental health condition should talk about it with someone they trust and consult a health care provider. As a nation, it is up to all of us to know the signs of mental health issues and lend a hand to those who are struggling. Shame and stigma too often leave people feeling like there is no place to turn. We need to make sure they know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness -- it is a sign of strength.” Furthermore, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius released a statement emphasizing how everyone has a role in building awareness. “All of us – including teachers, parents, ...
PAR Honors National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day
On May 9, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) held a virtual event in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The event focused on telling the stories of young adults who have had substance abuse or mental health issues and have developed ways to overcome their challenges. This is an especially important group for SAMHSA to focus on, as nearly 30 percent of young adults ages 16 to 24 years have had a mental health condition in the past year. PAR was a proud sponsor of this important event. Watch the virtual event, visit SAMHSA online, or comment below to get involved!
The Importance of Properly Diagnosing Early Onset Bipolar Disorder
Although early onset bipolar disorder (EOBD) was first described in 150 AD, the diagnosis remains surrounded in controversy because no such diagnosis exists. A person either meets the criteria for bipolar disorder set forth in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) or not. The problem is that, as with DSM-IV, the criteria describe bipolar disorder as it exists in adults. The child phenotype differs markedly from adult onset bipolar disorder. Children with this disorder exhibit a more chronic form of irritability, more rapid mood swings, intense emotional outbursts, and impulsive aggression. An additional complication when making the diagnosis in children is that most of the symptoms associated with EOBD also exist in ADHD, OCD, and ASD. Moreover, children with EOBD also have high rates of comorbid conditions. Though it was hoped that DSM-5 would resolve the main concerns, the following issues remain unaddressed: Technically, EOBD diagnosis still does not exist. Teens and children must meet adult criteria to be diagnosed as bipolar. ...
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