How to Approach Pro-Ana / Pro-Mia Sites in Eating Disorder Recovery

Woman trying internet intervention

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Director of Content and Social Media at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Everyday we make the decision to engage on social media platforms, we face a choice on how we want to spend our time. The internet and social media platforms are saturated with a plethora of information, and this can often create a sense of overload and overstimulation.

Many websites or social platforms may come across as something positive or supportive, but it is also important to carefully investigate everything you are spending time in and with.

Understanding Pro-Ana / Pro-Mia Websites

Historically, “Pro-Ana”, or “Pro-Mia” sites have been used to condone eating disorder behaviors, some going as far to demonstrate how “to become” anorexic or bulimic, as if an eating disorder is a choice. Websites used in this manner can be extremely harmful and toxic, particular to the person who might be suffering with an eating disorder or susceptible to these mental illnesses. However, some individuals may stumble upon these pages in search of a community to connect with or in hopes of finding other people who might understand what they are going through.

Because eating disorders are incredibly isolating diseases, the internet can often become a tangible way of finding and connecting with other people. Some individuals who might even be in search of help for an eating disorder may find themselves on a page that supports ongoing engagement in eating disorder behaviors.

Leaning on Positive Support

Woman with cell phoneOne important key to keep in mind is that online support can never replace the professional assistance, treatment, and intervention that is needed for eating disorder recovery. If you or someone you care for has heavily relied on resources found through the internet for help with what you might be struggling, be sure to connect with an eating disorder professional who can appropriately guide you through treatment.

If you are looking for positive online influences that can help support your recovery efforts, stick with trustworthy sources in the community, like the Eating Disorder Hope Pro-Recovery Movement, the National Eating Disorder Association, Project Heal, and more!

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are your ideas on approaching pro-ana/pro-mia sites in eating disorder recovery?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 9, 2016
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