Eating Disorders in the Entertainment Industry

Eating Disorders in the Entertainment IndustryThe modern entertainment industry can be a toxic environment for emotionally fragile or unhealthy people. Major psychological disorders appear in the film, television and music industries, and these issues include addiction, anxiety disorders and eating disorders. Problems faced by all people are exacerbated by the following unique aspects of life in the spotlight:

  • A persistent pressure to look perfect
  • Unrealistic body image standards
  • Periods of intense work followed by excessive free time
  • Access to large amounts of cash and the privileges it brings
  • Frequent rejection
  • Lack of privacy leading to secretive lifestyles
  • Difficulties maintaining normal relationships with healthy people

The most common eating disorders in the entertainment industry are anorexia (self starvation) and bulimia (bingeing followed by purging through self-induced vomiting or laxative abuse.) These disorders are actually the most deadly psychological illnesses a person can have. If left untreated they will lead to the early death of the victim.

Understanding Eating Disorders

The brain controls a wide range of human behaviors through a system of chemical signals and reactions. The “reward center” of the brain is the area responsible for reinforcing behaviors and forming habits. The following critical biological and psychological functions are controlled by this part of the brain:

  • Impulse control
  • Appetite and eating
  • Waking and sleeping
  • Motivation for exercise and other healthy activities
  • Sexual attraction and response
  • Response to emergency

Some people are more sensitive than others to these chemical signals. Instead of providing a mild motivation these people’s brains crave the behavior the way an addict craves a drug. When a person is hungry, the brain senses it through this chemical system. Eating and not eating drive different chemical responses in the brain. For some people the feeling of starving triggers the reward center of their brain, while for others binge eating does. Some comfort themselves through bingeing on food, but then feel shame, fear or remorse and punish themselves by vomiting.

Like an addict in denial of their drug or alcohol problem, many people with eating disorders are unable to understand the seriousness of their situation. They may look at their frightfully thin body in a mirror and fear they are becoming fat. This is because the emotional part of the brain is more powerful than the rational part in many ways. An anorexic person can see that their bones are sticking out, their muscles are shrinking and their skin is discolored, but instead of seeing their problem they still fear gaining weight.

Confidential Eating Disorder Help Is Available Right Now

Successfully treating eating disorders requires several types of therapy including the following:

  • Private counseling
  • Support group meetings
  • Treatment of any co-occurring mental health issues
  • Education
  • Nutritional support
  • Accountability

Personal and confidential help is available any time of day or night. Call our toll-free helpline to learn more about options for yourself or a loved one. We understand the unique needs and concerns of members of the entertainment industry. Call now, and let us help you find the healthy life you deserve.