Anorexia and its Negative Impact on the Body in the Movie Thin

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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“Thin”, a documentary which tracks the rehabilitation and struggles of numerous female patients with eating disorders, gave me insight into anorexia and its negative impacts both physically and cognitively. After watching “Thin”, I realized that eating disorders are much more than just an obsession for losing weight; they are way more of a psychologically and emotionally-driven condition compared to a physical one. From the patient, Shelly, to Brittany, to Alisa, their eating disorders stem from their home and social environments, which then ultimately led to the common physical side effects.

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Shelly’s case was particularly interesting to me because her own twin sister, Kelly, could be considered a cause of her eating disorder. Shelly’s extreme self-consciousness and even jealousy of her twin showed that sometimes, family dynamics can cause negative psychological effects. Families always have periods of conflict, but usually, love and support overcome fights and arguments. However, in Shelly’s case, even her twin sister had struggled to show support for her. Therefore, I learned the sheer complexity of everything that factors into a psychological disorder such as anorexia.

Another thing I found interesting was the methods that the Renfrew Center implemented to help improve their patients. Initially, when I considered anorexia as a physical condition, I always thought that the rehabilitation methods would be more geared towards nutrition and diet. However, what truly helped each patient was the cognitive behavioral therapy as well as the group therapy. For example, Alisa’s talk about her pact with other patients to try their best to follow the rules and to get better was really touching and demonstrated the psychological benefits from these therapy methods. Even from my own experience, just talking to a friend with similar problems can help way more than talking to an authoritative figure, even when you know they know more about the issue than you do.

Even though these group therapy sessions can truly help patients, there will always be personal conflicts that arise. One situation that stood out to me was when Shelly told the nurses about Polly’s medication which they found in her room. Shelly was put in a really tough situation that pitted her friendship with Polly against what she knew would help her. I have been put into similar situations with my friends, and it is always the hardest choice to make when you want to help them out. This is compounded by the fact that each patient at Renfrew has serious psychological health problems – it is not an easy situation for medical professionals to deal with. By the end of the documentary, I think each patient, while not necessarily cured, is on the correct path to recovery. In my opinion, the true benefit of rehabilitation is that people understand that there is no shame in asking for help and that not all is hopeless.

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Anorexia and Its Negative Impact on the Body in the Movie Thin. (2022, Aug 27). Retrieved from