An eating disorder refers to a psychological condition where an individual’s eating habit is disrupted for a long time. Eating disorders can disturb an individual’s mental and physical health, social life, and regular lifestyle. Eating disorders include:
- Anorexia nervosa is when an individual avoids eating because they are constantly captured in the thought that eating will make them gain weight, resulting in an unattractive physical appearance that does not match the rumoured criteria of an attractive physical appearance.
- Bulimia nervosa refers to when an individual binge eats a large amount of food and then forcefully gets rid of it by vomiting or using laxatives.
- Binge Eating, continuously eating a large number of foods without having any sense of control.
Eating disorders are not only comprised of overeating, not eating or following inappropriate dieting habits as well. The main focus here is to understand how are those individuals influenced to get into eating disorders. Researches show that out of the many factors, social media is a factor that plays a major role in eating disorders. Social media promotes the preconceived notions of what an ideal type of body image should be. Pre-existing stigmas of a perfect body image have always have been a slim body, tall height and fair complexion. Different brands use models mostly slim in their advertisements, dominating those who may not have a lean body or fair complexion, which influences the audience into believing those stigmas as authentic and the only acceptable way in society. Some advertisements portray how having a dark complexion can be equal to committing a crime. They are indirectly supporting the idea of racism. Such norms lead individuals to want to change their physical appearance. As a result, they take steps that are often inappropriate. Some individuals stop eating or follow inappropriate crash diets, thinking that they might reach their goal very fast in this manner. And some people go under stress thinking that they are unacceptable for the society because of their physical appearance, for which they end up eating in an unusual amount and manner.
Many individuals get into depression, anxiety, stress or any other psychological tension, which leads them to binge eating or not eating at all. And it continues until they reach their desired body type or appearance. Meanwhile, those individuals start facing health consequences. They aim to become like what is being portrayed as ideal on the internet but often harm their health. It is vital for those struggling with any eating disorder to discuss their issues with their loved ones or their family and take professional help. So they are made to understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle and be aware of the consequences of negatively influencing social media. So they can choose between what is appropriate and what should be avoided. Media is a platform of opinions of its users, not concrete reality, which should be kept in mind while using and following it.