Jamie Olivo is a Registered Dietician at the Eating Recovery Center of California in Sacramento. She helps adolescents and adults with eating disorderswhich can be very deadly and easily concealed. Yesterday she spoke to therapists and counselors at a community lunch networking event at ERC’s cafeteria. “Social media is definitely a factor,” she said, “Kids are keeping photos on Instagram that continue to inspire their extreme emotions around food, weight and body size.”
Olivio’s treatment plan is to help the patient make peace with food, and it includes re-introducing the foods so that they learn how not to experience guilt while eating them, and a “spring cleaning” of the photos on social media accounts. “We look at the photos on Instagram with the patient, and together we make decisions about deleting the ones that are not helping with their recovery and replacing them with positive ones,” she said.
An October 2015 Daily Mail report offers an interesting testimonial of a young woman in recovery from an eating disorder, and the role of social media in her illness. “In the past I have often scanned for hours through images like this hoping that one day I would look like these girls or have this ‘perfect figure’ that many people would comment on,” she is quoted in the article, “I would become more upset and disappointed when the image staring back at me in the mirror did not reflect this.”
Olivio wants parents to know that eating disorders are lethal. “Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder,” she said. “And 30 to 40 percent of deaths in Anorexia are from suicide.” Concealing eating disorders is easy to do. Some of the signs that your child may have an unhealthy relationship with food include: obsession about weight and/or excessive exercise, develops rules or rituals or particular requirements about which foods to eat, regular trips to the bathroom after meals and laxative wrappers in their trash. Also, the random monitoring of your child’s use of social media is helpful to stay informed about what is happening in their world, on and off line. If you see a lot of photos of very thin figures, that could be more evidence of a disorder forming.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s eating habits or emotional reactions to food, contact The Eating Recovery Center of California today at: 916-790-1598.
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Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.
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