Bulimia is an awful eating disorder with horrifying effects such as dental erosion, numerous hospitalization, swollen glands and temporary termination of menstruation. It is so horrifying that people like Donna (27), who suffered from bulimia for 13 years, avoid social media to protect themselves and their personal well-being.
Bulimia had a very tremendous effect on her. She now avoids social websites like Instagram and Facebook who put a lot of importance on image and looking good.
When she was in high school, Donna and many like her participate in many online forums where they swap stories and tips of how they stopped eating, compare their weight and participate in binge eating together.
Social media is a place where bulimic people can share images and information with each other. They form communities where they can encourage each other and share numerous “thinsperational” messages which not only trigger, but encourage bulimia.
The internet has many different pro-anorexia (“pro-ana”) and pro-bulimia (“pro-mia”) which use social media as a means to share their ideas and photographs around the globe. People who suffer from these disorders continue to promote their unhealthy behavior as a good lifestyle choice and encourage others to do the same.
Claire Mysko of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) believes that eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eatingflourish due to the numerous messages people are exposed to. The use of social media increases the exposure of individuals to these messages.
According to Mysko, behaviors linked to eating disorders are encouraged by social media. These behaviors flourish due to the constant and numerous images and support from users who also suffer from eating disorders. Eating disorders are now crossing all cultures and ages and affecting young girls, boys and middle-aged women.
The University of Haifa conducted a study in 2011 which shows that the amount of time spent by teenage girls on spent on Facebook is proportion to the risk of the development of negative body image and eating disorders.
Researchers from Florida State University found the connection between the use of Facebook and disorderly eating.
Groups that are advocating against eating disorders are doing their best to lessen the self-destructive images found in social media. NEDA launched an interactive website called Proud2BMe which promotes healthy outlooks on body image and weight.
NEDA is encouraging users and people who recovered from eating disorders to share their stories and experiences, recovery photos and photographs of their meals. More and more people are now joining and supporting the pro-recovery movement and sharing messages of hope, recovery and encouragement.
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