With celebrities like Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga, and Eminem coming out of the closet to discuss their struggles with eating disorders, it’s becoming easier to have honest conversations about issues like anorexia and bulimia. Unfortunately, however, those conversations often include some eating disorder myths that refuse to die out. We would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on some of the most common eating disorder myths.
Myth: They’re Only a Problem for Certain Groups of People
While a popular eating disorder myth is that they only occur in rich, white teenage girls, that’s simply not the case. Eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status. Furthermore, as we’ve stated in several blogs, approximately 30% of those struggling with an eating disorder are male.
Myth: You Can Spot an Eating Disorder On Sight
Another enduring eating disorder myth is that everyone with an eating issue must be thin or emaciated. This is often the case with anorexia, one of the most common eating disorders. However, folks struggling with bulimia, BED, or other eating disorders often have a body shape that could be described as “normal” or “larger.”
Myth: These People Just Need Some Food and They’ll Be Fine
It is true that folks who suffer from eating disorders have to be stabilized nutritionally. Years of restricted eating can leave a person with severe nutritional deficiencies. However, this is only one part of an eating disorder treatment plan. Additionally, therapists need to work to address trauma and other environmental or experiential factors along with the troubling beliefs and body image issues that are often part of eating disorders.
Myth: Eating Disorders Are a Choice
I’d like to say that this eating disorder myth is dying out, and among the younger crowd, that might be true. However, based on the conversations I’ve had, the truth is that this misconception doggedly carries on. Eating disorders are a result of biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Perpetuating the myth that eating disorders are a choice only creates further barriers to treatment.
Myth: They’re Really Not That Serious
If large numbers of people believe that eating disorders are a choice and that they can be cured with food, it’s unsurprising that this eating disorder myth persists. However, eating disorders are the most fatal of all mental health issues. The most current studies estimate that one in every ten people who suffer from eating disorders will die prematurely. If these blogs come off as preachy or overzealous sometimes, this is the reason why.
Ocean Recovery, based in Newport Beach, California, has been successfully treating eating disorders since 2002. We offer individual and group counseling, nutritional counseling, yoga, and much more. It’s all part of our holistic approach to eating disorder issues. If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, please consider giving us a call today. Start building your foundation for success!