Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Body Image Similar to Addictions?
As Emilie and I basked in the sun today - err...or should I say, when I basked in the sun and Emilie in shade today while studying for our respective subjects (Me - stats, Emilie - mental health nursing), we had a discussion regarding eating disorders and body image issues related to mental health. Emilie was reading about anorexia and her textbook said that eating disorders can be cured. So Emilie commented that she thought that they can't be cured because how can you really rid yourself of a body image disorder? So that got me thinking (and distracting Emilie a number of times before I dropped it) that I think Emilie was right! Can you ever really say that someone with a body image disorder is cured; or is it similar to addictions where you're not truly "cured" of an addiction in the same sense as you can be an illness but rather the addiction is something you "work on" for the rest of your life? Like the saying "once an addict always an addict" or "you're always an alcoholic even if you're a recovering alcoholic" play true to eating or image disorders as well? Can someone with severe body dismorphia ever completely be over their issues with their body or are they too, "an anorexic even if a recovering anorexic"? Although this then got me thinking....in North American society, the vast majority at large has some form or another of body image issues; not necessarily a disorder, but issues with their body image. I think it's safe to say that most people wish they could change, edit, enhance, alter, or erase something on their body whether it's real or perceived. With that being said, can we say that someone with a body image disorder can be "cured" when they have reached a level where they are at the norms with society with regards to their issues with their own bodies? But if this is the case, then for discussion sake, (if we're still comparing body image with addiction) couldn't we say that an addict is "cured" of their addiction once they too reach the same levels as society of desiring their addiction? - So an alcoholic is no longer addicted to alcohol when they desire alcohol to the same extent as the majority rather than for the reasons and excess that they had previously? And yes I do realize that there is a difference between body image disorders and addiction disorders but I think for discussion sake it makes an interesting parallel and can make you really think about both in a possibly new way (or maybe I'm just slow lol). In the end, I think that someone can't truly say that an individual is "cured" or body image and/or eating disorders but that they can be treated as a chronic illness; in that they can be treated and the severity of their "symptoms" can diminish as well as individuals can have exasperations but for the majority of the time they are lifelong except with few individuals. Emilie 1 - Mental health nursing textbook 0!