Wildly popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter may exacerbate the conditions of those suffering from eating disorders, according to a recent article in USA Today. Women and men struggling with anorexia, bulimia and other issues post, share and collect photos of people with unhealthily thin physiques, along with so-called "thinspirational" messages that are aimed at motivating each other to fast or purge. Some users are driven to engage in self-destructive behavior, comparing themselves with others online and competing with digital friends.
"We live in a culture where eating disorders thrive because of the messages we're exposed to," Claire Mysko, head of youth outreach for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) told USA Today. "Social media heightens that exposure."
Warning signs of anorexia may include intense fear of weight gain, anemia, severe food restriction and body image issues. Warning signs of bulimia may include binge eating, self-induced vomiting, laxatives misuse and body image issues. These conditions and other eating disorders may be worsened by online activity and participation in some social media communities. Once they have recovered from an eating disorder, many people find it is healthiest for them to avoid social networks altogether.
Eating disorders do not exist in a vacuum. At Fairwinds Treatment Center, we understand that there is a strong psychological component to such illnesses that can be worsened by exposure to certain societal influences like those found on social media. We are committed to helping individuals heal through our dual diagnosis treatment process, with intensive, personalized psychological support and nutritional guidance. If you believe that your loved one has an eating disorder, contact the Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida.