Mental Health Experts Concerned About #Thinspo Trend - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Mental Health Experts Concerned About #Thinspo Trend

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They have their own hashtags, Instagram, Twitter and other online message boards, be as thin or as fit as you can get no matter what. Some online sites are cracking down on the dangerous trend.

Our Joyce Evans reports, mental health experts worry it may be too little, too late to erase the damage to people with eating disorders.

They say they're meant to motivate in the fight against obesity, and while these images may appear alarming to you, tens of millions of people, mostly women, are killing themselves trying to comply with the message.

Women are posting images so stunning; it's tough to believe they really mean it.

Especially to those in a life and death battle to beat a mental illness, says Melissa Harrison at The Renfrew Center.

"I do believe that they believe that and I do believe that they are getting reinforcement for all of the likes they are getting online," Harrison said.

"Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all the diseases and addictions so we are talking' pretty serious stuff and that maintains your eating disorder, even when you're trying to get recovery," Harrison said.

Nikisha Boulden, four years in recovery now, says she is not tempted by all this she's horrified.

"It breaks my heart, it breaks my heart, Young people eight and nine years old who are subscribing to a life of torture," Boulden said. "Having to recover from an eating disorder is one of probably the most difficult things that I've ever had to face in my entire life and so it makes me angry."

But it's motivating this gorgeous, statuesque 34-year-old even more, by getting her story and message out. Not just to these women but to anyone who thinks this can't happen to them.

At only 16 years old, the more praise she got about how great she looked, the more she binged and purged.

"Everyone from the outside looking in would say 'Oh wow, you look great, you're beautiful, you're thin, life can't be any better'. But for me it was very miserable," Boulden said.

A close friend saw through her mask and spoke up about her rapid heartbeat, the dizziness, she'd spun way out of control.

"They gave me an ultimatum, we're not going to continue this friendship unless you go and get help, you have an eating disorder and you need to save your life," Boulden said.

Half of Nikisha's three months at Renfrew, she says, was spent fighting or trying to out-smart the experts working to help her until faith, a higher power, and breakfast called out to her.

"It wasn't easy I went in there and I saw the breakfast and I did eat but with each bite I was crying," Boulden said.

She gained control, self-respect, confidence, and a healthy outlook on life inside and out.

She now shops without obsessing over being the smallest size worrying the color or fit of her wardrobe.

"Appreciate who you are," she said.

 And while you can't control the message, you can control yourself and turn off a path of self-destruction onto a road of reality and happiness.

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