From Internet Overload To Over- Eating And Eating Disorders

Can internet addiction be related to obesity and eating disorders?
Can Pacific Quest’s Outdoor therapeutic program offer assistance for internet addiction related eating disorders?

Since teens and adolescent have begun to spend a disproportionate amount of time using and abusing the internet, many recent publications have started to pitch a rallying cry against the increased pressure caused by social media, the growth of celebrity culture, and the rise of anorexia websites. While factual data supports an additional increase in childhood obesity and even that eating disorders are continuing to soar among teens and adolescents, is social media/internet addiction really to blame?

Maybe the truth has nothing to do with playing the blame game. Because, in reality, eating disorders are a result of a combination and culmination of factors that are built up over time. Peer pressure and identity can play a major part, as can relationships, family troubles and academic concerns.

That being said, we also know that the 24/7 nature of social media and rampant internet addiction places huge pressures on our children and young people, which in turn can lead to significant emotional issues (with a society increasingly bombarded with celebrities and airbrushed images which give an impossible view of what ‘beautiful’ is).

Over load, Over Eat, Over IT All

It’s no secret that many teens are big fans of video games and the Internet. But for some young people, what started as an interest in technology, a means of entertainment, or a way to keep in touch with friends may morph into a serious behavior disorder. Teen internet addiction is marked by a progressive loss of control over one’s ability to avoid, regulate, or limit a behavior. In this case, the behavior in question is spending time on the Internet and eating poorly. Poor nutrition (failing or refusing to eat in order to remain online) is one of the major symptoms associated with teen internet addiction.

Sitting in front of a TV or computer screen for hours, eating nothing but junk will lead to over-eating and obesity. While comfort eating is not harmful in moderation, if it becomes a habit, corresponding directly to Internet addiction and a sedentary lifestyle, it can lead to obesity, food addiction and binge eating.

The prevalence of obesity and concern about its impact on public health has grown dramatically in the United States. In most cases, obesity results from a caloric imbalance-the number of calories consumed exceeds the number of calories expended. Sedentary lifestyles and the wide availability of low cost, calorie dense foods contribute to this energy imbalance.

Outdoor Therapy At Pacific Quest Can Help

The Pacific Quest gardens offer a dynamic medium for therapeutic growth. Central to the therapeutic model is the experiential nature of the program and holistic approach to wellbeing.  The use of sustainable growth, horticultural therapy and gardening, focus on health and wellness, and peer culture, complement the individual treatment plan providing the foundation for developing personal awareness and cultivating tools for personal development teens and adolescents with eating disorders. The five pillars of health: nutrition, sleep, movement, breathing and the body/mind connection are taught, role modeled and practiced as cornerstones of daily living and the foundation of ‘Whole Person Wellness’.

At Pacific Quest, we believe what we put in our bodies directly affects how we feel. The Pacific Quest diet has been developed to provide needed nutrition; take advantage of locally grown foods in Hawaii, and to allow for creativity and enjoyment for our young adults. We teach the basics of nutrition and how the body uses food as fuel. Purified water and herbal tea are the only liquids provided and participants are taught how sugary diets contribute to fluctuating blood sugar levels that cause mood changes and energy crashes. Students learn how to cook and prepare food using the freshest and most natural ingredients.

The Unique Program for Outdoor Therapy And Healthy Eating At Pacific Quest

  • Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapy program, which uses Horticultural Therapy to support increased emotional health and wellbeing for adolescents and young adults. Horticultural therapy utilizes organic gardening in conjunction with proven therapeutic modalities to meet specific therapeutic treatment goals. Pacific Quest is the only outdoor therapy program to utilize this cutting-edge, client-centered, treatment model to enhance social, cognitive, and physiological functioning with the primary goal of improving health and inspiring motivation for change.
  • Organic gardening provides a living community where a variety of vital life skills may be practiced, mastered and generalized long after a young person’s Pacific Quest journey.
  • Pacific Quest is not corporately or remotely owned. Owners/operators live near the program and work side-by-side with staff on-site.
  • Pacific Quest operates in a mild and temperate climate year-round in calm, lush and peaceful surroundings.
  • Pacific Quest operates on privately controlled land (not public land).
  • At Pacific Quest, all adolescents and young adults sleep indoors in simple, yet modern bunkhouses.
  • Sustainable, practical life skills (vs. rarely used survival skills) are taught, practiced and mastered. (These skills include but are not limited to: time management, goal setting, organizational, planning, community living, meal planning and cooking, personal hygiene and grooming).

Pacific Quest inspires struggling adolescents to realize their full potential; it is a place offering young people and their families hope, unconditional support, and a chance for a new life.

For more information about Pacific Quest’s outdoor therapeutic program call us at: (808) 937-5806

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