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I saw it in the movies (using films in education and training in Eating Disorders)

  1. Using films about Eating Disorders (ED) in education and training Dr Yasir Hameed (MRCPsych) Specialist Registrar Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust
  2.  There is strong tendency to blame the media for causing and maintaining our patients’ eating disorders (Spettigue, Henderson 2004)  The majority of studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between media exposure and eating pathology, body dissatisfaction and negative affect (Stice, Schupak- Neuberg, Shaw, & Stein, 1994; Stice & Shaw, 1994; Utter, Neumark-Sztainer, Wall, & Story, 2003)
  3.  Studies even demonstrated that the media may have an indirect effect on females’ body image through its influence on boys’ expectations of females’ appearance (Hargreaves & Tiggemann, 2003).
  4.  Women with anorexia nervosa engage in heavy media use and describe their consumption of fashion magazines as an “addiction,” with many saying that their greatest media dependency occurred after their eating disorders had begun to take control of their lives (Thomsen et al., 2001).
  5.  Every year, the average adolescent sees over 5,000 advertisements mentioning attractiveness.  Various surveys showed that majority of female respondents felt that women in movies and television programmes made them feel insecure about their bodies.  The rate of eating disorders in Fiji surged following the introduction of Western television programming (Becker et al. BJPsych. 2002)  Actresses Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts and the singer Diana Ross meet the BMI criteria for anorexia. 
  6.  Much of the literature on the role of the media in the treatment and prevention of eating disorders has focused on media literacy, activism, and advocacy (Levine et al., 1999; Levine, Smolak, & Schermer, 1996; Posovac, Posovac, & Weigel, 2001; Steiner-Adair & Vorenberg, 1999).
  7.  Media literacy training involves teaching people to think critically about different forms of the media, increasing awareness of media use, and analysing the content and intentions of the media producers.
  8.  Through media literacy, adolescent girls learn how to decode and discuss the visual images and the messages in the media; they learn that all media images are constructed, that what they see is not necessarily reality, and that all media creations represent a point of view (Steiner-Adair & Vorenberg, 1999)
  9.  Films can offer realistic depictions of character styles and psychopathologic disorders, as well as personal and family dynamics, with subtexts alluding to the prevailing social norms.  An advantage of using films for teaching is that they are well produced, interesting and lively, and there are no concerns over confidentiality.  Characters experience their symptoms in the context of their lives, not in an isolated clinical encounter. Bughra D. Teaching psychiatry through cinema. Psychiatric Bulletin (2003) 27: 429-430
  10.  Psychological thriller film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis.  The plot revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet by a prestigious New York City company.  Natalie Portman plays the innocent and fragile ballerina (Nina) who is struggling to achieve the expectations of her mother the Director of the show. Black Swan (2010)
  11.  A documentary from Channel 4 following the journey towards recovery of an 8 year old Dana and her stay at a specialist unit (Rhodes Farm) in North London.  Useful for CAMHS professionals and patients. Dana (2007)
  12.  Documentary film directed by Lauren Greenfield and is an exploration of The Renfrew Centre; a 40-bed residential facility for the treatment of women with eating disorders.  The film mostly revolves around four women with anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia and their struggles for recovery.  Living at the centre for six months, Greenfield and director of photography Amanda Micheli received unrestricted access Thin (2006)
  13.  A documentary focusing on the role that family issues play in the life of four teens suffering from eating disorders and the pressures exerted on them to live up to what they perceive as the high expectations of their family.  “There was very good explanations of how the family structure can affect a person going through such a disorder and how they can help the individual get well” Patient’s review on Perfect Illusions: Eating Disorders and the Family (2003)
  14.  In this TV drama from NBC, Kimberly McCullough stars as a young aspiring dancer whose life is threatened by anorexia.  The film shows the impact of eating disorder on the person’s relationships, health and work.  The end is a happy one, which gives optimism and hope of recovery to the viewers . Dying to Dance (2001)
  15.  Television drama film about a teenage girl's struggle with bulimia and its effect on her parents and friends.  Teenager Beth Moss (Alison Lohman) has an apparently good life academically and as a ballerina, however, she feels she is not living up to the expectations and is not in control of her life.  She turns to binging and purging as a means to gain control over at least one aspect of her life. Sharing the Secret (2000)
  16.  Television drama about the singer Karen Carpenter and her struggle with eating disorder, which eventually took over her career and ended her life at the age of 32 due to heart failure.  Her death lead to lasting media attention to eating disorders and number of celebrities later on went public about their own struggle with these disorders. The Karen Carpenter Story (1989)
  17. o Most films are not made for educational purposes but for entertainment. However, they influence the public and can be used to educate and raise awareness about various mental health problems, including eating disorders. o Using films in patients education and training of health care professionals is encouraged by many authors. o Inviting patients and their carers to watch these films can be very helpful to encourage discussions about the patients’ own experiences and how they relate to others with similar stories.
  18. “You are not alone, and it will get better if we worked together”, is the message we need to send to all our patients.
  19. Any comments?