Some experts say the "thigh gap" craze sweeping social media is causing serious problems among women predisposed toward eating disorders. The thigh gap hashtag can be found on many "thinspiration" sites geared at encouraging anorexia and bulimia, but it has also become popular on mainstream outlets like Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.
The so-called thigh gap is the open area visible between some women's thighs when they place their feet and knees together. Celebrities and ordinary people alike have been posting photos of their legs to show off this space. Tania Heller, medical director of the Washington Center for Eating Disorders and Adolescent Obesity, told the Washington Post that the movement is causing real damage.
"We have seen an increased trend in which adolescent girls and young women are engaging in extreme dieting in pursuit of a so-called thigh gap," Heller said to the news outlet.
Medical and health experts say that many women simply cannot achieve the open area in between their legs if they are at a healthy weight, because of their bone structure. Trying too hard to get a thigh gap can be a recipe for disaster.
Many people who suffer from anorexia or bulimia also struggle with underlying mental health problems like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). For example, a woman with OCD who becomes obsessed with achieving a thigh gap may in turn be driven to compulsive behavior to achieve it, ultimately putting her physical health and even her life in danger.
Since 1989, Fairwinds Treatment Center has been using its unique dual diagnosis treatment plan to address both patients' eating disorders and the underlying issues that trigger or worsen them. Using a combination of clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling, we are able to help patients achieve lasting recovery.