ERespond to at least two colleagues who identified a different pro-eating disorder website. Compare the two sites identified by your colleagues and if you see a pattern in the ways the websites approach this subject. Does there seem to be a predominant theory that is supported in these websites?
Colleague 1: Brooke
According to the DSM-5, the diagnostic criteria for determining the presence of an eating disorder includes the consistent disruption of daily functioning, due to eating behaviors that adversely affects both psychological and physical health (APA, 2013). Combatting an eating disorder can be a lifelong process, requiring consistent support through a variety of means. Research supports the efficacy of group work, as well as individual counseling (Peebles, Wilson, Litt, Hardy, Lock, Mann and Borzekowski, 2012). Additionally, in this age of technology, internet sites can be accessed quickly and easily, offering another means of gaining information and support for those plagued with an eating disorder.
However, not all of the accessible websites provide the support geared toward regaining a healthy lifestyle. On the contrary, there are – unfortunately – pro ana (anorexia) or pro mia (bulimia) websites that were designed specifically for individuals who want to maintain their unhealthy eating habits, and have access to support to do so with these websites (Peebles, et. al., 2012). Although within the past decade many of these websites have been removed from the internet, there are still some that remain. For example, http://www.myproana.com, claims to be a website providing support for individuals who need to come and “meet” with others sharing similar challenges, yet upon closer examination, it is clear that there is no motivation from its followers to regain their health (Helser and Jacatout, 2003). Rather, there was rather disturbing images of girls posting pictures of their naked bodies, often accompanied by their weight; clearly, the lower the number, the prouder of themselves these girls – and other members – became. In one particularly frightening account, one member captioned her photo of her 72 lb. body with “Please comment below. Fat shaming welcome to provide motivation” (Helser and Jacatout, 2003). The website included tabs for chat rooms (to which I did not have access), photo gallery, and a member profile section. This website perpetuates the criteria established by the DSM-5. This consistent support in pro eating disordered behavior allows for the disorder to pervasively remain in the individual’s life, affecting both their psychological and physical health.
Fortunately, there are more recovery websites on the internet, designed to provide consistent support to individuals truly trying to regain their emotional and physical health. Recovery Ranch, www.recoveryranch.com, is an inpatient program that provided mental health rehabilitation to women diagnosed with eating disorders, drug and/ or alcohol addiction, personality disorders and sexual addiction or intimacy issues (Drug & Mental health Treatment Center, n.d.). Their informational website, however, has several links to provide this support through the internet, including blogs, chat threads, information regarding community based resources, and diagnostic tools to gage individualized success. The website explores several methods of combatting negative, harmful perceptions, including cognitive behavioral therapies, dialectical behavioral therapies, individual counseling, fitness and wellness promotions and adventure therapy (Drug & Mental health Treatment Center, n.d.). There is strong advocacy for ongoing, consistent intervention to ensure the most positive outcomes. The underlying mission of this program, as evidenced by the website, is to promote the emotional and physical well being of all individuals working toward the betterment of their life. All accessible messages found throughout the website, were rooted in hope, positivity and health.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders
(5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Drug & Mental Health Treatment Center. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from
Helser, R., & Jacatout, L. (2003). Forum and Community. Retrieved October 24, 2017, from
Peebles, R., Wilson, J. L., Litt, I. F., Hardy, K. K., Lock, J. D., Mann, J. R., & Borzekowski, D.
(2012). Disordered eating in a digital age: Eating behaviors, health, and quality of life in users of websites with pro-eating disorder content. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 14(5), 305–320.