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Social Media and Eating Disorders – What You Need to Know

Social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch with friends and family strewn around the globe, sharing information, photos, and ideas.  The technology is really amazing and convenient, but, for some people, social media can be detrimental to their health.  Images of ultra-thin people abound on social media, as do numerous links to recipes and luscious food blogs. Studies are showing that social media can be contributing to the rise in eating disorders requiring treatment.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, some 30 million Americans suffer from a clinical significant eating disorder at some point in their life.  While social media cannot be blamed fully for triggering an eating disorder, it can play a significant role. Because so many eating disorders also have a strong psychological component to them, the constant barrage of food images and thin models on social media sites can wear down anyone susceptible to them. 

Sites like Facebook and Instagram are image-focused, and photos ranging from thin celebrities, to friends who have lost weight, to unhealthy diets can fill your newsfeed 24 hours a day. Young girls, in particular, who compete for “likes” on their posts, may go to great lengths to do what is necessary to get these likes, even if it means turning to disordered eating to achieve their view of the perfect look.

Social media gives many groups and/or organizations that promote eating disorders a global audience, but there are things you can do if you or someone you know is struggling with what they see online. From open and honest conversation, to limiting time on social media, to seeking help at an eating disorder clinic, there are options to combating the ill effects of social media and eating disorders.  Call Rebecca’s House at 866-554-1851 to learn about our effective and long-lasting eating disorder treatment options.

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