Pro-anorexia sites ‘demand money’ from their victims

Shocking research is suggesting that pro-anorexia websites are attempting to make profits by charging readers a subscription fee to access the sites.

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by Fiona Day |
Published on

Research conducted by The Priory Group has found that pro-anorexia websites are making commercial gain through dangerous messages to those suffering from eating disorders.

The sites act as a meeting place for sufferers to encourage each other to lose weight.

Even more shockingly, some of the sites are selling merchandise to promote eating disorders with red items being targeted to anorexia sufferers and blue for bulimia sufferers.

Eating disorder charity Beat shared their concerns over the sites making profit from dangerous mental illnesses.

Many sufferers consider the sites to be a 'lifeline' (stock image)
Many sufferers consider the sites to be a 'lifeline' (stock image)

A spokeswoman for the charity said: ‘Eating disorders by their nature are a very secretive illness and by making parts of very harmful and dangerous websites exclusive can fuel the illness.’

‘Often people use these types of sites to gain acceptance and a sense of understanding and by offering merchandise it’s feeding the idea that this is a community. The commercial exploitation of something that is a very serious mental illness is extremely concerning.’

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‘There has been a dialogue about whether we should ban pro-ana sites,’ she added.

The argument against banning the sites is that they act as a ‘lifeline’ for sufferers who want to find others who are going through similar experiences and emotions.

But Beat argues: ‘Although we agree they need to be monitored more closely, we feel banning them would both criminalise those who have set them up – often seriously unwell themselves – as well as pushing individuals further away from the pro-recovery messages which are so important for people to hear.’

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