A study published in the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine found a correlation between the use of social media and eating disorders in young adults living in the United States. The DSM-5 definitions indicate that up to 2.6 percent of the population will need bulimia nervosa recovery treatment by the time they reach 20 years of age. This research indicated a consistent and strong association between eating disorders and social media in a sample of 1,765 adults aged between 19 and 23. For this reason, any bulimia nervosa treatment must address the influence of social media and how it may impact bulimia nervosa recovery.
Bulimia Nervosa Symptoms
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Prior to any discussion about bulimia nervosa treatment, it’s important to outline the bulimia nervosa symptoms associated with this eating disorder. Sometimes there is confusion between bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Bulimia nervosa signs can often occur during episodes of anorexia nervosa.
However, in order for the disorder to be classified as bulimia nervosa, the DSM-5 defines the criteria as eating a significant amount of food in a short amount of time that is greater than most people would eat. This is coupled with a lack of control in regards to being able to stop or control how much or what is being eaten. Purging methods are used after the binge as a way to prevent weight gain. These behaviors must both occur at least one time per week for three months, on average. When assessing their health, an individual with bulimia nervosa may place a great influence on her or his body weight and shape.
Other signs of bulimia nervosa include a fixation on dieting, weight loss and the control of food. Evidence of both binge eating and purging; including, but not limited to, frequent trips to the bathroom, the disappearance of large quantities of food, smells and other signs of vomiting, empty food wrappers or boxes of diuretics and/or laxatives.
Successful Bulimia Nervosa Treatment
The successful treatment of bulimia nervosa first starts with a thorough assessment of bulimia nervosa symptoms so a correct diagnosis can be provided. In addition, any co-occurring conditions need to be explored and addressed to help pave the way for a smooth recovery.
The influence of social media on young people today cannot be overstated. While social media fulfills a number of roles for connection, it can also be a source of harassment, pressure and bullying. If used in a positive manner, young people can connect with others who have similar interests or struggles from all over the world. They can reach out for support and to support the causes that are important to them.
The negative side of social media are the ways it has been used to bully young people into feeling they aren’t living up to society’s expectations of them. Even those people they believed to be friends can hide behind the veil of anonymity that is offered by social media and engage in bullying. A build up of these experiences, along with other predisposing factors can lead to the development of eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa.
Carefully crafted and created solutions for bulimia nervosa recovery must be tailored to address the individual’s unique needs and desires. While many young people use social media to stay connected to their support systems, a psychologically gentle treatment plan that focuses on high-frequency individual therapy provide the foundation for a recovery that can withstand the inevitable bumps that life — and social media — can deliver.
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