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January 9, 2018

EDH Case Study – What Can One Online Community Do to Help? – Part III

Woman researching Intervention Models on her phone

In Part I, we explored the dark side of the internet and how that can harm impressionable minds and further disordered eating pathology and behavior.

In Part II, we discussed the many ways the internet can promote recovery and foster empowerment when used in a positive way.

Now, let’s touch on how Eating Disorder Hope (EDH) is using this information to create a much-needed internet safe-haven for individuals struggling, their loved ones, and clinicians.

Basic Information on Disorders

As Part II of this series discussed, knowledge is absolutely power when it comes to eating disorder treatment and recovery [1].

EDH is built upon this understanding, engaging and empowering individuals toward treatment and recovery by bolstering their knowledge in various ways.

The site gives fundamental insight and understanding of eating disorders themselves, providing the definitions, behaviors, and symptoms of them all. This allows individuals and their loved ones to gain a better understanding of what they are experiencing.

Beyond the basics, EDH has a “Blog and Vlog” section that is updated almost daily with blogs and articles from contributing writers in the eating disorder advocacy, treatment, and recovery world.

This section delves into every area of eating disorders one might be curious about, from how to approach family and friends about your disorder, research and treatment advancements, pop culture news, co-occurring disorders, etc.

Treatment Resources

Knowledge can also cancel out fear [1], hence the “Treatment” section of EDH, which provides a way for individuals to reduce the unknowns associated with treatment.

This section provides a list of all approved Treatment Centers as well as descriptions of various treatment types for individuals curious about the treatment process.

Treatment is not possible for all individuals, whether due to finances or location. Support groups are a positive alternative for individuals to find understanding and support and are also listed on the EDH site.

Programs

EDH has expanded beyond the internet by creating programs to further the message of pro-recovery in communities.

With programs such as College Hope, Pro-Recovery Movement, and Hope Club for Professionals, EDH is pushing beyond the confines of the internet to inspire individuals and communities toward recovery.

Careers

The pro-recovery movement depends upon many people, from the advocacy community to mental health professionals. Individuals interested in working in eating disorder treatment and recovery can learn about open career opportunities using the EDH Career Center, getting involved with some of the most reputable pro-recovery treatment centers in the U.S.

Stories

After reading Parts I and II of this series, it is clear that one of the main reasons individuals engage in online communities is to find social support and understanding [2].

Woman spending time on EDH website

While knowledge and resources are absolutely critical, what truly builds a community and promotes pro-recovery are the beautiful, complicated, and inspiring stories of those that have battled their disorders and recovered.

EDH is lucky enough to have many of these stories, submitted by EDH community members. These stories highlight the courage, passion, and strength it takes to battle an eating disorder and the beauty that life can hold when one wins that battle and reaches recovery.

While the information, tools, resources, and programs on EDH are invaluable, this series is more significant than one site.

As online communities, clinicians, advocates, and treatment centers work together to build one another up; they can create a positive pro-recovery network.

This vast network can make an incredible difference in arming individuals with the knowledge, tools, resources, and confidence to achieve happy, positive, and full lives.

That is the ultimate goal.


Image of Margot Rittenhouse.About the Author: Margot Rittenhouse is a therapist who is passionate about providing mental health support to all in need and has worked with clients with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, domestic violence victims and offenders, and severely mentally ill youth.

As a freelance writer for Eating Disorder and Addiction Hope and a mentor with MentorConnect, Margot is a passionate eating disorder advocate, committed to de-stigmatizing these illnesses while showing support for those struggling through mentoring, writing, and volunteering. Margot has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.


References:

[1] Aardoom, J. J. et al. (2014). Internet and patient empowerment in individuals with symptoms of an eating disorder: a cross-sectional investigation of a pro-recovery focused e-community. Eating Behaviors, 15, 350-356.
[2] Custers, K. (2015). The urgent matter of online pro-eating disorder content and children: clinical practice. European Journal of Pediatrics, 174: 429-433.


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.

Published on January 9, 2018.
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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