ProAna and ProMia: Dangers of Encouraging Eating Disorders Online
What do the words ProAna and ProMia mean to you? ProAna and ProMia, otherwise known as Pro-Anorexia and Pro-Bulimia, refer to groups of individuals suffering from eating disorders, particularly on the internet, that support and encourage others to engage in eating disorders. Acting out can include, but is not confined to, restricting food intake, counting calories, binging, over-exercising, self-induced vomiting, and taking laxatives, just to name a few. Those that consider themselves ProAna or ProMia – and yes, they can be male or female – perceive their eating disorder as a perfectly normal and healthy lifestyle choice, not as the sickness it truly is. Anorexia-Nervosa and Bulimia-Nervosa are both serious and fatal disorders that require immediate treatment.
Dangers of ProAna and ProMia Sites
For those that are unfamiliar with the web sites, ProAna and ProMia glorify and teach tricks for “success” in eating disorders. This poses a serious threat to all web site viewers, and can be compared to how addicts provide other addicts instructions on methods of creating or taking substances. When ProAna and ProMia sites go into elaborate details of “how to,” viewers – who are usually young – can become influenced and develop their own long-term eating disorder. This is an extremely hazardous viral epidemic, where strangers who haven’t even physically encountered one another are spreading their disease like wildfire! With pictures of how thin an eating disorder-affected individual can get, step-by-step guides of eating disorder rules to live by, and other tricks of the trade, eating disorders are taking on a new route of transmission.
#ProAna and #ProMia
ProAna and ProMia sites have one-upped themselves by using new methods on the internet to gather other eating disorder supporters of the lifestyle, using “thinspiration.” With the internet expanding as time progresses, social media platforms have emerged and become more popular through the years. Outlets like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, have acquired users that advocate newer techniques of connecting with others – the main one being the newly created hashtag, which was formerly known as the number sign or seen as #. ProAna and ProMia individuals are being seen using hashtags in their posts to attract others with the same “way of life” by using popular phrases like #ProAna, #ProMia, #Bonespo, and #Thinspo. Graphic pictures of sickly thin individuals are typically attached to these hashtags.
Keep in mind that there are other eating disorders like binge-eating disorders and compulsive over-eating disorders, in which there is an obsession with the consumption of food and desire for control. All eating disorders are disorders that affect sufferers both mentally and physically. Signs of someone who may be ProAna or ProMia include always talking about their desire to lose weight or exercise plans, going to the bathroom after meals, not eating in front of others, hiding food, always feeling cold, extreme weight loss or weight gain, eating too quickly, taking laxatives, seem to be getting sick more than usual, insomnia, bad breath, brittle hair, anxious behavior, and low self-esteem. Living with an eating disorder is not something to admire or take lightly, as a lot of health issues that develop from them tend to be irreversible. Just like an alcohol and/or drug addiction, eating disorders can destroy lives and remove the sufferer’s ability to be present throughout their daily life.
Certain 12-Step Fellowships are specifically eating disorder related and are known to help the sufferer recover from acting out.
Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA): eatingdisordersanonymous.org
National Eating Disorders Association: nationaleatingdisorders.org
Overeaters Anonymous (OA): oa.orgTags: anorexia, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, eating disorder, eating disorders, food addiction, Overeaters Anonymous