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Bulimia Causes & Triggers

A recent study by Johns Hopkins University explored “pro mia” sites.  Pro mia (i.e. “pro bulimia") websites provide “how to” information for practicing your eating disorder more effectively. Most of the hype is directed toward the use of extreme methods, and there is usually no mention of a possibility of effective eating disorder treatment.

At Kartini Clinic our eating disorders treatment team frequently cautions patients and their families that online forums aimed at children and young adults with eating disorders – far from being supportive — are often just opportunities to learn extreme behaviors and “compare notes.”

Another area of concern to parents is that pictures and comments displayed on these sites can be triggers for those already struggling with eating disorders and worsen their own symptoms.  Whether such bloggers are discussing the behaviors that they are engaging in or are discussing their weight, shape, or size (or former weight, shape or size), this can be extremely triggering for someone who is struggling with their own self-image.

It is important to realize, however, that while these sites have the power to influence negatively, eating disorders such as bulimia cannot be caused or created merely by reading about them. It is possible, however, to trigger an emerging eating disorder (in those with a genetic vulnerability), enhance or worsen the way an already active eating disorder is experienced.