Unfortunately, there are a large number of undiagnosed eating disorders that exist. This means that people who desperately need help aren’t getting it. You may be wondering why so many cases go undiagnosed. The answer is that there are actually a number of different reasons.
Making Undiagnosed Eating Disorders a Thing of the Past
Eating disorders are no joke, and it is vital to get help if you or a loved one are suffering from anorexia, bulimia, or any other kind of disordered eating. Anorexia actually has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness, including depression. The death rate is 12 times higher than the death rate of all causes of death combines for 15-24-year-old females. And those who don’t get treatment are at higher risk. Without help, 20% of people with serious eating disorders will die of complications that are a direct result of the disease.
There are many reasons for undiagnosed eating disorders. Here are some of the biggest ones:
- Shame and stigma still play a big role. Unfortunately, people with eating disorders are usually very withdrawn and secrecy is a big part of the disease in the first place. On top of that, many people shame people with eating disorders and are still under the assumption that the person can just stop their behavior. Therefore, someone who is suffering from an undiagnosed disorder is more likely to keep things a secret instead of reaching out for help.
- People don’t think they are skinny enough. It is important to remember that eating disorders come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. There is a mistaken impression that someone who has an eating disorder has to fit the stereotype of being super skinny and nothing but skin and bone. This isn’t the case, there are plenty of troubling symptoms aside from losing too much weight that can be deadly if left untreated. Don’t wait for the scale to be your only indicator that you need help.
- They think it can go away on its own. Psychiatric disorders still have a stigma attached to them. Many people believe that it is something that can easily be controlled by a shift in attitude or behavior. Eating disorders fall under this category. The truth is that it is essential to get help for mood disorders, eating disorders, or substance abuse. This is because even if you might be able to do it on your own, it is much easier with professional help. Also, you’ll have a much better shot of lasting success.
- The person eats plenty of food. We’ve had clients whose family members are baffled because the person clears their plate at every meal. Well, this alone should never be a reason not to get help. People with undiagnosed eating disorders are experts at keeping things a secret. And they are very likely to go out of their way to make everything look normal on the outside, even though they might be bingeing and purging behind closed doors, or even hiding the food you think they are eating.
- Denial. Finally, many people are in denial about their eating disorder and think that they can change things whenever they want. They will put off getting help no matter how bad it gets. This is because they think that they will be able to change, no matter how many failed attempts they have. It is important to own up to your eating disorder and realize that it is ok to ask for help.
The truth is that eating disorders that go untreated can lead to a number of health complications… including death. Don’t let yours get that far. There is no shame in asking for help, and by doing so your health and quality of life will drastically improve.