Myth-Buster | Eating Disorder
Updated: Jan 23, 2019
50% of us know someone with an eating disorder or have been personally affected by one and yet there are so many misconceptions about them and the impact they can have. This can make it all the more difficult for someone who is struggling to reach out and get the support and the treatment they need. Understanding the reality of eating disorders can help us support our friends and family so we are sharing the truth about three common misunderstandings...
“You can tell when someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them...”
The media has focussed on people who have lost vast amounts of weight due to anorexia but the reality is that people with eating disorders come in every shape and size. The impact of the disease will be different for each person and will depend on how it manifests itself for them. For example, while someone struggling with anorexia may be losing weight, someone else with bulimia might stay the same or gain weight.
“Eating disorders are a choice...”
Eating disorders are complex. They are serious mental illnesses that have huge impact on the individual’s mind and body and have the highest death rate of any mental illness. There are biological, social, environmental and genetic elements that all come together to make a person susceptible to developing an eating disorder. An eating disorder often leads to a great deal of suffering both for the person and those around them. A person does not choose to have an eating disorder and cannot simply make different choices. Recovery takes time, support, treatment, nutritional monitoring as well as learning new ways to cope with the emotional distress they are experiencing.
“Only teenage girls have eating disorders...”
Eating disorders have been identified across all socioeconomic groups, age groups, gender groups and in different countries across the world. It is thought that 1 in 10 of those diagnosed with an eating disorder is male and in certain disorders such as binge eating the number goes as high as 4 in 10. There are men and women being treated at midlife and beyond. In the last 10 years in the US, there have been a rise of diagnoses in certain groups including males, ethnic minorities and those aged 8 to 12 years old.
LIVEmpowered has resources to help those dealing with eating disorders or supporting someone who is struggling. Please contact us at info@LIVEmpowered.org for more information.