Girl measuring her waist
Girl measuring her waist

The harm of #thinspo and pro-ana websites


Triple J Hack

By
Jo Lauder ,
Stephen Stockwell



  • The harm of #thinspo and pro-ana websites

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Social media can make you feel like someone out there gets you. Like, really gets you. But what if the people you’re hanging out with online are pushing your mental illness and eating disorder to dangerous limits?

#thinspo is one of the most popular hashtags online, and it worries experts who say ‘thinspiration’ is a phenomenon that can actually impact people who previously had no issues with disordered eating.

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A 2010 study found people with no history of eating disorders subconsciously ate less for three weeks after being exposed to pro-anorexia sites.

So what impact can ‘thinspiration’ have on people who already have an eating disorder?

#thinspo and other #skinny hashtags have become a way to meet other people with eating disorders, who validate each other’s behaviour and pass on tips to convince the world that they’re ‘healthy’.

It’s lead Instagram to ban the hashtag altogether, although users have just found other #’s to get around the ban.

On tumblr, users can ‘lock off’ part of their profile with a password, leading to ‘progress blogs’ that document their daily routine and showcase the user’s weight loss.

Treatment:

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, so what treatments are there?

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But what if you don’t fit into the categories of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating but still think something might be up?

You’re not alone. 40 to 60 per cent of people who go looking for help don’t fit that mould either, diagnosed instead with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified , or EDNOS.

EDNOS is in the process of being replaced with another acronym, OSFED for Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder. This has only just happened though so everyone is still updating their websites.

Is this bringing up some full on issues for you? There are heaps of people you can call including 1800 334 673.

If you’re a little worried but don’t know who you should talk to, it’s worth checking out the The National Eating Disorders Collaboration page , for helpful contacts.

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@triplejHack thankyou so much for looking at such an important and dangerous topic. My wife suffered from anorexia as a teenager.

— Anthony Barden (@genuinelyanf) September 24, 2013

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Jessica has called in from #perth and says she was negatively affected by #thinspo blogs. Says they fuelled her eating disorder.

— triplejHack (@triplejHack) September 24, 2013

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@triplejHack Thanks for having me on the segment today guys! Thinspo is NOT ok… We need to get that message out into society

— Jessica Smith (@JessSmith27) September 24, 2013

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Insightful discussion on @triplejHack about dealing with eating disorders. @Bfoundation

— Mohamed Taha (@Mo_Taha1) September 24, 2013

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Today’s @triplejHack was a great listen, anyone who’s got a spare half hour should give it a go.

— Ben Cuzzupe (@BenCuzzupe) September 24, 2013

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Great work by @triplejHack & the @Bfoundation . Important resource from @Bfoundation offering friends of people w/eating disorders advice.

— Ellie McKenzie (@elmac__) September 24, 2013

Credits
  • Author

    Jo Lauder
  • Author

    Stephen Stockwell

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