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Can Social Media Exacerbate Eating Disorders?

Can Social Media Exacerbate Eating Disorders?

Social media has given a new face to the struggle with body issues and eating disorders

Social media can be a great way to connect with friends and family, grow a business and build an online presence. But for women and men who struggle with body image, social media can also be a place that contributes to eating disorders. This is especially true for teenage girls who work hard to look the way they feel society expects them to look. Social media sites can also be a haven for bullies, and for those who already struggle with self-esteem issues, this can be dangerous and even deadly.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, eating disorders are complex conditions that are a mixture of behavioral, biological, emotional, psychological, interpersonal and social factors. There is no one particular cause of eating disorders and researchers are constantly looking for both reasons the conditions develop and more effective treatments. Eating disorders may appear, in the beginning, to be all about food and a preoccupation with weight. But underneath these superficial motivators is the need to control and deal with difficult situations and emotional stress.

Factors that contribute to eating disorders break down into the following categories: psychological, interpersonal, social and biological. Psychological factors like low self-esteem, lack of control over situations and depression make it difficult for the person struggling with an eating disorder to see themselves as others see them. Trouble in relationships and difficulty communicating freely about feelings are both interpersonal issues that may contribute to eating disorders, as well as family history.

But social media has given a new face to the struggle with body issues and eating disorders. With a constant stream of Hollywood personalities receiving attention at every turn because of their beauty or their dysfunction, young men and women, and even mature adults are more aware than ever of a standard that is impossible to reach. If there are other psychological and interpersonal issues present, social media can be the tipping point for a person struggling with an eating disorder. But getting the right kind of treatment and understanding that you are not alone in this struggle can help you live a life free from eating disorders.

Finding Help for Eating Disorders

Social media does not always provide a clear picture of what a healthy person looks like. If you or a loved one struggles with an eating disorder, we are here to help you. Call our toll-free helpline to speak to an admissions coordinator about treatment options. You are not alone. Call us now.

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