Eating Disorder Forums

Forums are often great places to connect with like-minded people, having conversations and gaining support. Eating Disorder Forums, however, can be harmful rather than healing. Read this article to understand more about eating disorder forums.


The Functions of Forums

In general, forums provide an online meeting place in which people with something in common - even if it’s only a penchant for argument with those who don’t agree with them - have virtual meetings and discussions. Because this seems like a benign activity, especially since it can be done anonymously and at a distance, you may be wondering why participating in eating disorder forums may not be a healthy choice. What could be unhealthy?

What Can Go Wrong With Eating Disorder Forums?

The fact is, some eating disorder forums are devoted to continuance of eating disorders and even eating disorder forums that have another purpose - for example, providing an online environment in which people who have an eating disorder can speak their minds and discuss their situation without being judged - may include threads or posts that tend towards continuing, exacerbating, or concealing the eating disorder. For example, there are posts containing lists of techniques to hide the fact that one has anorexia, and posts asking for advice on how to binge with the least negative results.

The second very problematic thing that happens with eating disorder forums (and other health-related forums) is that it is often the case that people ask for advice on the forum that should only be asked of a health care provider. The ability to ask the question on the forum may in and of itself dissuade the poster from seeking the professional attention that he or she needs. The other side of this is that the eating disorder forum is an open invitation for people who have no qualification except their own idiosyncratic experience to address other people’s critically important healthcare decisions, giving advice that may be neither valid nor healthy.

It’s particularly true that younger people, who lack the judgment to fully understand these problems with eating disorder forums, as well as adults who are ashamed of their condition or have experienced teasing and/or rejection, might find it less embarrassing to address issues of concern on forums. This can result in a flow of misinformation and people endangering their health by trusting in inexpert opinions. A report in 2008 found that almost 2/3 of people who visit sites that promote eating disorders try out techniques they have found their for weight-loss or purging.

If You Want to Find an Eating Disorder Forum

If finding a forum that does not have these problems is important to you, try these steps:

  • Ask for a recommendation from a healthcare professional, such as your primary care physician, a nutritionist, a therapist.
  • Choose a forum has monitors overseeing discussions.
  • Choose a forum on which doctors post responses to healthcare questions.
  • Choose a forum that treats posters with respect but has a mission for healing and removes posts that perpetuate eating disorders.

Related Article: Eating Disorder Support Groups >>