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Research has found that a number of core beliefs identified by the psychologist Albert Ellis are consistently linked to self-dislike and depression. I see these in many young people today and they go largely unchallenged by adults because many of the adults in their lives are handicapped by the same irrational beliefs. Below is a list of commonly held false core beliefs. As an exercise, print this list and have your students circle those that they hold. You might further discuss scriptural responses that challenge these false beliefs.
- I must be loved or approved of by everyone I consider significant.
- I must be thoroughly competent and adequate in everything I do. I should not be satisfied with myself unless I’m the best or excelling.
- If something is or may be dangerous or fearsome I must be terribly concerned about it or keep on guard in case it happens.
- It is easier to avoid than face life’s difficulties and responsibilities.
- It’s bad to think well of oneself.
- I can’t be happy unless a certain condition – like success, money, love, approval, or perfect achievement – is met.
- I can’t feel worthwhile unless a certain condition if met.
- I’m entitled to happiness (or success, health, self-respect, pleasure, love) without having to work for it.
- One day when I make it, I’ll have friends and be able to enjoy myself.
- Work should be hard and in some way unpleasant.
- Joy is only gained through hard work.
- I am inadequate.
- Worrying insures that I’ll be prepared to face and solve problems. So the more I worry the better. (Constant worrying helps prevent future mistakes and problems and gives me extra control.)
- Life should be easy. I can’t enjoy it if there are problems.
- The past makes me unhappy. There’s no way around it.
- There’s a perfect solution, and I must find it.
- If people disapprove of (reject, criticize, mistreat) me, it means I’m inferior, wrong, or no good.
- I’m only as good as the work I do. If I’m not productive, I’m no good.
- If I try hard enough, all people will like me.
- If I try hard enough, my future will be happy and trouble free.
They referred to an article in the Huffington Post about photos of models that have been touched up to make the model look thinner.
As a father of three young girls I’m concerned that when they see the touched up photos they compare and contrast themselves to a fictional image. We have got to continue to pull back the curtain on these tricks of the trade or our girls will kill themselves striving for something that is impossible.
Now I know this may sound fanatical but we work first hand with young girls who suffer from image distortions and eating disorders. It’s no wonder they struggle so much when confronted with images such as this.
Here’s a great song by Jonny Diaz called “More Beautiful You” that speaks to this same issue:
It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia
Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder (Note: One in five Americans suffers from mental illnesses.)
An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old. 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems
ACCESS TO TREATMENT
Only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment
About 80% of the girls/women who have accessed care for their eating disorders do not get the intensity of treatment they need to stay in recovery – they are often sent home weeks earlier than the recommended stay
Treatment of an eating disorder in the US ranges from $500 per day to $2,000 per day. The average cost for a month of inpatient treatment is $30,000. It is estimated that individuals with eating disorders need anywhere from 3 – 6 months of inpatient care. Health insurance companies for several reasons do not typically cover the cost of treating eating disorders
The cost of outpatient treatment, including therapy and medical monitoring, can extend to $100,000 or more
Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents
95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25
50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight 80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight
RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES
Rates of minorities with eating disorders are similar to those of white women
74% of American Indian girls reported dieting and purging with diet pills
Essence magazine, in 2008, reported that 53.5% of their respondents, African-American females were at risk of an eating disorder
Eating disorders are one of the most common psychological problems facing young women in Japan.
While the previous statistics are sobering there is hope. This hope is in direct proportion to those who are willing to get involved in the messiness that comes with loving those with an ED and an increase in awareness and education of this horrible condition. If you have suffered from, or someone you love has suffered from an ED we invite you to join the fight. We invite you to use your voice and influence. We invite you to share your experience, strength, and hope to those who have lost theirs. You can do that in one of several ways:
1.) Leave a comment here.
2.) Refer your friends and loved ones to this and other websites as an ED resource.
3.) Utilize your social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and provide links to ED websites.
4.) Talk to your local school/park districts/churches/etc. and educate them on ED.
5.) Share your stories of overcoming ED. (If you have a story you’d like to share to inspire others feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important to understand that even though a person may be suffering specifically with Anorexia, Bulimia or Compulsive Overeating, it is not uncommon for them to exhibit behaviors from each of the three. It is also not uncommon for one Eating Disorder to be swapped for another (Example: a person who is suffering with Anorexia switches to Bulimia; a persons suffering with Compulsive Overeating switches to Anorexia). This is why it is important to be aware of THE DANGERS BELOW, all of which are risks no matter what Eating Disorder you suffer with.
DO NOT FALL INTO THE TRAP OF THINKING “I ONLY DO THIS A FEW TIMES A MONTH SO I CAN’T BE AT RISK” OR “I DON’T DO THIS ALL THE TIME, I JUST GO THROUGH HEALTHY AND NON-HEALTHY CYCLES” — THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE NOT IN DANGER, NOR DOES IT MEAN YOU DO NOT SUFFER FROM AN EATING DISORDER.
For a list of eating disorder associated dangers and diseases click here.
Eating disorders frequently appear during adolescence or young adulthood, but some reports indicate that they can develop during childhood or later in adulthood. Women and girls are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. Men and boys account for an estimated 5 to 15 percent of patients with anorexia or bulimia and an estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders are real, treatable medical illnesses with complex underlying psychological and biological causes. They frequently co-exist with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. People with eating disorders also can suffer from numerous other physical health complications, such as heart conditions or kidney failure, which can lead to death.