While editing photos on platforms such as Instagram and using filters on Snapchat was once deemed relatively harmless, social media users are becoming increasingly self-conscious about their appearance due to the rise of editing photos on social media.
With an increase in the number of men and women admitting to suffering from eating disorders, at Cassiobury Court, we have delved into how the rise of editing photos on social media is leading to more eating disorders here.
What Are Eating Disorders?
Before uncovering why a rise in the number of people editing photos on social media has been noted, it is essential to understand what eating disorders are. In essence, eating disorders are mental health disorders that distort the way individuals view themselves.
The NHS further defines eating disorders as unhealthy attitudes towards food which can consume an individual’s every waking moment and cause many to become obsessed with the way they look.
According to eating disorder charity BEAT, approximately one million women in the United Kingdom have an eating disorder. While many presume that only women will suffer from eating disorders, this is not true.
Men are just as likely to become victims of an eating disorder. In fact, BEAT has estimated that at least 25% of people that suffer from an eating disorder in the United Kingdom are men. However, due to the stigmas associated with eating disorders, men are more likely to defer treatment. They are also less willing to admit that they are suffering from an eating disorder.
What Types of Eating Disorders Do People Suffer with?
Across the United Kingdom, both men and women suffer from anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating disorder, body dysmorphia and other specified feeding or eating disorders.
It is thought that 8% of those struggling with an eating disorder will suffer from anorexia nervosa, 22% will suffer from binge eating disorder, 19% will suffer from bulimia, and 47% will suffer from other specified feeding or eating disorders.
Irrespective of the eating disorder, individuals struggling will succumb to the pessimistic thoughts associated with their eating disorder. Sadly, this can cause many to become severely unwell and in need of hospital treatment.
The Rise of Editing Photos On Social Media
Research conducted has highlighted that at least 49% of social media users will edit their photos before sharing them on social media most of the time. Contributing to this, 18% of social media users have admitted to altering their images all of the time.
But why are people editing the photos and altering how they look?
Society’s expectations surrounding how men and women should look based on the number of celebrities and influencers posting flawless pictures on social media has seen millions of men and women across the world face increasing pressures to conform to society’s expectations with regards to how they should look.
Although social media users are aware that a vast amount of the photos posted on social media are edited and do not necessarily portray an accurate representation of an individual’s appearance, many find themselves striving for the looks that society deems as ideal.
When it comes to editing photos on social media, research determines that women are more likely to edit their photos to make themselves appear slimmer. In contrast, men will edit photos before posting on social media to make themselves appear more muscular.
In addition, both men and women admit to editing their photos to enhance their features.
Sadly, the rise of editing photos on social media is leading to more eating disorders.
The Link Between Editing Photos on Social Media and Eating Disorders
From wanting to appear slimmer to desiring enhanced features, research has determined that both men and women state that the rise of editing photos on social media has caused them to encounter pessimistic thoughts and feelings with regards to their self-perception.
According to the National Report on Self Esteem, 98% of women state that they feel as though they must look a certain way to fit society’s expectations.
Contributing to this, it is believed that 80% of men feel ever-lasting pressure to have the perfect body due to the way in which social media has portrayed the ideal male body.
Sadly, as touched on above, the rise in the number of people stating that they feel pressured to look a certain way has led to an increase in the number of individuals struggling with eating disorders.
Research published by Florida State University has confirmed that editing photos on social media have contributed to an increase in the number of people that are specifically worried about their weight and physique.
Looking at images of those that are thought to have the ideal body sees many making comparisons and asking themselves what they need to do to achieve their desired body.
In a bid to conform to society’s standards, several individuals’ will begin following strict diet regimes, restricting themselves of any foods that they believe will hinder their progress.
Unfortunately, this leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. When desired results are not obtained, many will go as far as starving themselves in an attempt to achieve a slimmer or more defined body.
Regrettably, when an eating disorder is present, those that are subject to anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or other specified feeding or eating disorders will find themselves locked into a somewhat vicious cycle that they cannot escape without professional support.
Seek Support for An Eating Disorder Today
Eating disorders, as touched on above, are severe mental health disorders that distorts an individual’s self-perception. Left untreated, eating disorders can have a plethora of short and long term ramifications.
If you are silently struggling with an eating disorder, we would encourage you to reach out to us for support. Likewise, if you have reason to believe that a friend or family member is suffering from an eating disorder, we welcome you to contact us.
Whether you are looking for someone to talk to, support or guidance, please call us on 01923 369 161.