Body Dissatisfaction Contributes to the Development of Eating Disorders, According to Alsana Experts

This Mental Health Awareness Month, Alsana Spotlights Compassion-Focused Therapy's Role in Nurturing Healthy Body Image for Individuals Recovering from Eating Disorders

ST. LOUIS--()--Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), an approach that promotes shame resilience and self-compassion, is a key component of Alsana's eating disorder treatment programming and a powerful tool to combat the harmful effects of body dissatisfaction. It is a known risk factor for eating disorders and other mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and suicidality.

Body dissatisfaction is defined as negative attitudes towards one’s body, resulting from a perceived discrepancy between how one perceives their own body and their “ideal body.” Mental Health Awareness Month, recognized annually in May, is an opportunity to address the harmful, diet culture messages that contribute to body dissatisfaction and the development of eating disorders, which are among the deadliest mental illnesses.

“Diet culture continues to normalize disordered eating behavior and prioritize weight loss as vital to achieving the ‘ideal’ body’ - often under the guise of pursuing health and wellness,” said Heather Russo, LMFT, CEDS-S, chief clinical officer with Alsana. “These ideas perpetuate fatphobia, which we know contributes to body image dissatisfaction, disordered eating, and to worse mental and physical health outcomes.”

“Many eating disorder clients come to us with a self-compassion deficit,” said Russo. “Clients in larger bodies often cite previous incidents of weight stigma that caused them to delay seeking treatment. CFT helps them replace internalized shame, stigma, and self-criticism with acceptance and self-compassion.”

About Alsana

Alsana is an eating recovery community and treatment provider with in-person Residential and PHP/IOP programs in Alabama (Birmingham and Huntsville), California (Monterey, Santa Barbara, Westlake Village, and Thousand Oaks), and Missouri (St. Louis), Virtual PHP/IOP offerings across the United States. Their approach to eating disorder treatment is compassionate, evidence-based, and designed in alignment with the Adaptive Care Model®. This holistic method addresses healing in all areas of clients’ lives by integrating medical, nutritional, and therapeutic care with movement and relational therapies. Alsana serves adult clients of all genders and sexual identities struggling with a broad spectrum of eating, feeding, and co-occurring disorders. Alsana’s programs accommodate the unique needs of vegan clients and clients struggling with ED-DMT1, also known as “diabulimia.” For additional information, visit


Jessica Neuman, Westbound Communications
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