| Eating Disorders
An eating disorder is a type of mental illness that triggers an unhealthy eating behaviour and body image. This includes either fixation on losing or gaining weight, barely eating or serious over-eating and body dysmorphia (having a distorted view of what your body actually looks like, and what is a healthy size). Examples of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa (obsessive desire to loose weight by refusing to eat) and bulimia (desire to lose weight by self-induced vomiting or purging, often following bouts of extreme over-eating). Both anorexia and bulimia have extreme health consequences, and can be fatal if taken far enough.
‘Pro-ana’ refers an internet-based community- mainly populated by teenage and pre-teen girls- that supports people with anorexia and bulimia.
Some claim to offer a support network and a 'safe', understanding place to discuss ED issues and while they support sufferers who wish to go into recovery they also provide a hub for people who do not want to get better. These sites are platforms for people to talk about their weight goals, feelings and problems away from 'judgemental' and 'interfering' parents and doctors. These sites often offer advice on how to deal with the effects of undernourishment such as minimising pain after purging.
Others are a hub for glamorizing starvation, extreme thinness and believe that anorexia isn't an illness, it's a lifestyle choice.
Both website types can be very harmful and triggering to people with, or on the brink of an eating disorder.