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[The impact of social media on youths with anorexia nervosa].

OBJECTIVE: To describe the impact of social media on youths with severe anorexia nervosa.

DESIGN: Qualitative study.

METHOD: Through semi-structured interviews with eleven youths diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, opinions and experiences surrounding the impact of social media on anorexia nervosa were collected, coded and analyzed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Social media are often used to compensate for social isolation or misunderstandings about anorexia nervosa from friends and family. Motivated youths experience recovery communities as helpful against social isolation and a good place to find motivation for recovery. Negative aspects of social media include the idealization of unhealthy body types, the competition to have the most severe anorexia and the ease with which pro-ana content is found online and imposes itself.

CONCLUSION: Preventive measures, including education about the dangers of social media can protect youths with anorexia nervosa in their social media use. Isolation from social media may lead to further social isolation.

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