Pop singer Ke$ha entered eating disorder treatment at Timberline Knolls on January 3 and asked her fans to give her 30 days to rehab, but eating disorders don’t begin or end suddenly. They develop over time and take more than 30 days to overcome. Hopefully, this inpatient time is just a beginning of Ke$ha developing a new relationship with food and dealing with the psychological issues involved.
People in the entertainment business live in a fishbowl and are constantly being evaluated for their performances and appearances. This is a classic set up for insecurity and self-loathing, roots of an eating disorder.
When I read the little bit of information on Ke$ha, four things stood out in terms of eating disorders:
1) Her music producer, Dr. Luke, reportedly made nasty comments about her weight, even referred to her as a refrigerator! She was bothered by this–most people would be! But if you have other issues in your life, nasty comments about your body can send you over the edge.
2) Ke$ha says she has had a hard time loving herself. People with eating disorders suffer from a lack of self-love. They can love others and be very giving, but when it comes to their own lives, it’s hard to apply that loving, generous spirit to the self. They tend to be perfectionist, obsessive and all or nothing thinkers.
3) Ke$ha is a vegetarian which is usually code for struggling with food. Not all vegetarians are on the brink of an eating disorder, but this can be a sign that food has become an enemy. A person with an eating disorder tends to narrow the field when it comes to food choices. Food restriction is a sign of an eating disorder. Some people become vegans or vegetarian as a way to reduce food choices, limit high fat foods and restrict eating.
4) Ke$ha admits to having times when she drinks too much. Binge drinking is also a common symptom of someone with an eating disorder. Many of my clients went back and forth bingeing for awhile on food, then alcohol, then food.
Keep in mind that while food and weight are the areas of focus, much more is involved that has little to do with either. People with eating disorders have problems with mood regulation, conflict, tolerating distress and more. These are psychiatric disorders, meaning they involve the way we think, feel, behave and relate to other people.
Ke$ha took the first step in getting better–she admitted to the problem and sought treatment. Both are necessary for healing to begin.
Let’s hope she continues to stay in treatment until she is fully recovered. Because like so many problems, recovery is a long and difficult road! But change is possible!