The National Eating Disorders Association is reporting a spike in calls to their helpline during the holiday season.
With Christmas now just weeks away, many are celebrating by whipping up a holiday dinner with family and friends. However, for some, it can be a triggering time of year, but there's help available.
The most wonderful time of the year can be triggering for the 28.8 million Americans suffering from disordered eating. The National Eating Disorders Association is reporting a spike in calls to their helpline during the holiday season.
"You're at a ton of events -- that revolver of food -- and if you have an eating disorder, even issues around food or your weight, then it's likely to be a troubling, difficult, stressful time for you," said Dr. Jenn Mann, who is an author, speaker and pscychitherapist.
Studies show social media can also potentially be harmful, especially for teens.
"There's some really interesting studies that show that for teens in particular, the more they are on social media, the higher the rates of eating disorders. And with adults, the more social media time they spend, actually, the higher rates of depression, anxiety, and all sorts of mental health issues," Dr. Mann said.
On TikTok, dietician Kylie Sakaida said she is making it her mission to make a positive impact and break stigmas for her more than two million followers.
"With my history of having eating disorder myself, I understand that experience. I always want to make sure that I'm presenting information in a very again positive way that isn't going to be harmful to people," Sakaida said. "My main goal is to make health and nutrition information accessible on TikTok, and to help people by posting easy recipes, evidence-based nutrition tips, as well as my own personal health journey."
With more than a billion users, TikTok is offering ways to avoid potential triggers.
"We're really committed to making sure that folks have this safe, comfortable environment to express our own creativity," said Dr. Tracy Elizabeth, head of family and safety development health for TikTok. "You can select a specific search term that might not be comfortable for you and block that term. If you see a video that you really just don't feel comfortable with, you can just long press on that video and say, not interested."
The social media giant is also teaming up with the National Eating Disorders Association.
"What we know is that there are specific ways that you can engage with folks, adults and teens who may need help. And one of those ways is just give information," Dr. Elizabeth said. "This is an appropriate guide that we believe will give healthy messages out there to folks who need it."
And when it comes to holiday stressors that aren't online?
"Make sure that you have an action plan. Make sure that you have support lined up. Make sure that you bring food with you to a family event where food is being served. It is a safe food for you. Be aware of what your triggers are, and have your support system on call ready to get text from you, or call to you," Dr. Mann suggested.
If you are struggling with any mental health distress, including thoughts of hurting yourself or any thoughts of suicide, text or call the crisis line at 988. Free help is available 24/7.