How does body image affect mental health

How does body image affect mental health

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The pandemic has brought with it an alarming boom in eating disorders. The numbers are alarming: National eating disorder hotlines are reporting a 70 percent rise in call volume, and hospitalizations for eating disorders have doubled in the past three years.

Eating disorders have among the highest mortality rates of any mental illness (and yes, they are considered a mental illness rather than a behavioral problem), but stigma and stigma often prevent people from seeking help. Researchers have found that two types of eating disorders in particular, bulimia and binge eating, often co-occur with ADHD. A 2007 study at Harvard Medical School found that girls with ADHD were nearly four times more likely to have an eating disorder than those without ADHD.

Critics blame social media for an increase in eating disorders. In fact, nearly a dozen lawsuits have been filed by families against the parent company of Instagram, saying the platform has harmed the mental health of minors.

Meanwhile, teens and young adults are forming secret online communities to discuss eating disorders, extreme diets, looking skinny, and ways to lose weight — and these chats have their own hashtags and phrases on YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter to hide from parents. and evasion of the policies of these platforms.

In this special Mental Health Out Loud talk, Dena Cabrera, Psy.D. will answer. , on questions about eating disorders from the ADDitude community. Discussion topics include:

  • The different types of eating disorders, how they manifest differently in boys and girls, and how eating disorders differ from an eating disorder
  • What makes young adults with ADHD more susceptible to eating disorders and body image problems than their peers without ADHD?
  • How does the impact of social media on adolescent girls and boys contribute to an eating disorder?
  • Signs to help parents and others identify a person’s eating disorder when it’s not apparent
  • How to identify and better manage basic self-esteem problems common among teens with eating disorders. If all social media can’t be removed, how can caregivers help build a child with low self-esteem?
  • How to start a conversation with teens and young adults about the dangers of eating disorders without judgment or blame
  • What are the best practices for treating ADHD and eating disorders? For example, are practitioners hesitant to treat ADHD with stimulant medications, which can suppress appetite?

The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Administration (SAMHSA) At 1-800-662-4357 is a free, confidential, referral and information service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For anyone in crisis, immediate help is also available by calling The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

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Meet the expert speaker

Dina Cabrera, Psy.D. , CEDS, is a clinical psychologist and certified eating disorder specialist with more than 24 years of experience treating mental and psychiatric disorders. Prior to opening her own clinic in Anthem, Arizona, she served as Vice President Clinical Services of Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders. Dr. Cabrera is a nationally recognized expert in her field, having authored numerous articles and publications including co-author of the book The mother in the mirror: body image, beauty and life after pregnancy (#CommissionsEarned). She is also a sought-after speaker and has been featured in many prominent national and local news outlets, talk shows, and publications. Previously held the position of president International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP). Learn more by visiting her online at denacabrera.com.

#CommissionsEarned As an Amazon partner, ADDitude earns a commission from eligible purchases that ADDitude readers make on the affiliate links we share. However, all of the products linked in the ADDitude Store have been independently selected by our editors and/or recommended by our readers. Prices are accurate and items are in stock as of the time of publication.


Translation and annotation available. Presentations and certificates of attendance are not provided for outdoor mental health events.

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