'Selfie' Craze Is Fueling Eating Disorders, Doctor Claims


The craze over skinny selfies are fuelling dangerous eating disorders, according to one leading expert at the Priory hospital group.

According to Dr. Alex Yellowlees, medical director and consultant psychiatrist at the Priory hospital group, more young women suffering from eating disorders are taking pictures to share with their friends than ever before. The competitive dieting “diaries” created by selfies are psychologically damaging and can encourage anorexia and bulimia.

“Some people will take repeated pictures of themselves at various stages of their illness, and send them to others,” Yellowlees said. “They want to keep a record of their illness and see for themselves, as it were, the progress they think they are making toward anorexia.”

Yellowlees said that he’s only become aware of the trend in the last few years, and that the participants are usually young women in their teens or twenties who are “really into their phones.”

Yellowlees also voiced concern over smartphone apps that allow users to track their calories because they allow those with eating disorders to become obsessed with counting numbers. He added that “thinspiration” websites are equally as harmful, since they convey potentially dangerous messages.

Yellowlees chose to speak out about the increase in “thinspiration” selfies ahead of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, adding that despite crackdowns, many “pro-anorexia” and “pro-bulimia” still exist.

“Eating disorders are like a form of ‘psychological malignancy’ and should be taken very seriously by society,” Yellowlees concluded. “This includes anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.”

The Priory group runs 35 hospitals treating mental health conditions. Each year, the group admits around 500 patients to treat eating disorders. Since 2013, the number of patients admitted with eating disorders has risen by eight percent.

Source: Telegraph / Photo Credit: Flickr

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