Some eating disorder myths are ingrained in our heads. Here are 6 you must absolutely learn the truth about!
1. You must be skinny if you have an eating disorder.
Truth: This is one of the most common eating disorder myths. While its true thinness is a sign of anorexia, not everyone with an eating disorder is below average weight. For example, bulimics have a normal weight. You can’t tell by physical appearance if a person has an eating disorder.
2. Eating disorders are not just about problems with food.
Truth: Eating disorders are not just about food; they reveal a deep sense of suffering. The obsessions with food, weight and calories are signs of deep unhappiness. Eating disorders are complex with many different factors contributing to them. They are caused by a combination of biological, psychological, social and environmental factors.
3. Only teenagers suffer from eating disorders.
Truth: Although they usually show up during adolescence (ages 13 to 18), and mostly in girls, eating disorders can touch anyone. In fact, they affect men and women of all ages: adults, teenagers and even children. That being said, over 90% of cases concern young girls and women, while a small percentage concerns men and boys.
4. Anorexics do not induce vomiting.
Truth: Although induced vomiting is more often associated with bulimics, anorexics also use this as another way to control weight. The line between anorexia and bulimia is often blurred because they share a common obsession with food. It’s not uncommon to see an anorexic woman become bulimic or vice versa.
5. Eating disorders are not serious.
Truth: Eating disorders must be taken seriously and treated as soon as possible as they have a tendency to reappear and become chronic problems with serious medical and psychological consequences. According to the National Institute of Nutrition, 10 to 15% of people who suffer from anorexia and bulimia die. Anorexia is also linked to mental disorders with the highest mortality rates.
6. It is impossible to fully beat an eating disorder.
Truth: It’s a widespread belief that recovering from an eating disorder is a long and difficult road. It is a long process, but with a lot of effort and the right treatment, it is possible to recover at 100%. It requires patience because there is no magical solution. Relapses are frequent and part of the healing process. However, the sooner a person receives a treatment, the better the chances of full recovery.
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