Like with anything that isn’t completely understood, there are many myths about eating disorders (EDs) that prevent people from seeing the warning signs and getting help. In truth, eating disorders affect 10 million females and 1 million males in the U.S. alone. Of those, less than 1 in 10 seek treatment.
Common Myths About Eating Disorders
Here is our roundup of some of the most common myths about eating disorders. By raising awareness, we can educate more people about these disorders and help to get more people into the treatment they need.
Myth 1: People with eating disorders are shockingly thin.
In certain extreme cases, yes – people with eating disorders can be super skinny and it is apparent immediately that they need help. However, the problem starts way before this point, and things can get really bad without the person getting to an extremely low weight. Obsessively counting calories and thinking about meals, binging, and purging are all signs of eating disorders that can have a huge negative impact on a person of any size.
Myth 2: People with eating disorders hate how they look.
Body dysmorphia and a self-loathing can certainly play a role in EDs, but far from everyone suffering hates how they look. A lot of EDs have to do with remaining in control, so if a person loves the way they look, they might obsess about what they eat in order to stay that way. In either case, it is unhealthy behavior that needs to be addressed.
Myth 3: Only a certain type of person gets an eating disorder.
A lot of people associate eating disorders with models and teen girls trying to fit in at school. The fact is, eating disorders affect everyone. Men, women, old, young, heavy, skinny – Anyone can develop an eating disorder at any time in their lives. It’s time to throw the old stereotypes out the door.
Myth 4: It will go away on its own.
The truth is that most people need help with their eating disorder. ED sufferers can easily spiral into depression or have major anxiety once they lose control over their food intake. This can lead to a whole host of issues like bringing them right back to their ED, depression, or using substances to make themselves feel better. It’s best to get the help you need from a professional to have the tools to overcome your ED.