Eating Recovery Center In The News: Examiner.com
Chief Marketing Officer Julie Holland, MHS, CEDS has just been named the National Eating Disorders Examiner. Read an exceprt from her first blog below, or to read it in its entirety, click here. Study examines the role of pro-ana websites in eating disorders recovery Search the Internet for “thinspiration” or visit pro-eating disorders online communities (commonly referred to as pro-ana (pro-anorexia) and pro-mia (pro-bulimia) websites) and you’ll find startling, sometimes disturbing images and blogs encouraging individuals to engage in unhealthy disordered eating behaviors to achieve unrealistic body shapes and sizes. For this reason, many online communities, including Tumblr and Pinterest, chose to ban all pro-eating disorders material from their sites to protect the health of their users. In the wake of the “thinspiration” and pro-eating disorders content being banned, researchers at Indiana University have released the results of a study suggesting that pro-ana and pro-mia websites may actually help to facilitate eating disorders recovery. The study, which evaluated 33 female pro-ana bloggers between the ages of 15 and 33, revealed that these study participants were often looking for support from a community of individuals who understands the intense trials of this mental illness, and that they weren’t actually encouraging others to share in their disordered eating behaviors through their posts and online communication. Other key findings include:
- Most pro-ana bloggers understand that their disordered eating behaviors are serious problems. Eighty-two percent identified their eating disorders as mental illnesses, while only 9 percent of those interviewed believed that anorexia was a “lifestyle.”
- The majority of the pro-ana bloggers said their mood improved after writing, underscoring the powerful impact of creative expression activities like journaling in the recovery process.
While it’s true that support from like-minded and similarly situated individuals can be extraordinarily helpful in working towards eating disorders recovery, members of recovery-focused communities must support the pursuit of treatment, practice their own positive body image behaviors and adopt healthy attitudes toward food. To this end, many eating disorders treatment centers offer alumni programs that can help individuals build a healthy community and provide support to prevent dangerous relapses. Furthermore, understanding the seriousness of an eating disorder is crucial to finding recovery, as is seeking treatment from a qualified eating disorders professional. Eating disorders are the deadliest mental illnesses; therefore, it’s important to seek treatment from professionals with the medical and clinical expertise necessary to properly manage these complex illnesses and facilitate lasting eating disorders recovery. These treatment professionals help to identify and develop the tools to practice recovery during and after treatment. For example, journaling and creative expression can be very therapeutic, as identified by the University of Indiana researchers. Treatment professionals recommend writing about events that occurred, what can be learned from those experiences and how these lessons can be used in eating disorders recovery, rather than just lamenting on the day’s frustrations.