Eating Disorders are not Just a Lifestyle Choice
The National Eating Disorders Association reported that over 10 million women and 1 million men in America struggle with anorexia and bulimia. But even with that many people suffering from the disorders, many people don’t know that eating disorders are real diseases and not just lifestyle choices.
One huge myth surrounding eating disorders is that they are simply a lifestyle choice. Some people believe that it’s as easy as flipping a switch. Some people think that one day you have an eating disorder because of dissatisfaction with your weight, but as soon as you reach your goal, you can go back to life without an eating disorder. That myth prevails because of media coverage and shows that don’t depict the long and often difficult journey to recovery for those with eating disorders. Another myth is that eating disorders revolve solely around food. In fact, anorexia nervosa and bulimia, the two most common forms of eating disorders, are complex and can involve not only psychological issues, but also sociological and biological factors as well.
Most people know that the media can be a big part of eating disorders, but it’s more than just what we see on television and the pictures we see when we flip through magazines. People who are affected by eating disorders are often facing other issues such as losing control of a part of their lives or depression or even a traumatic event. Another common myth about eating disorders is that they can be easily treated. But like depression and other mental illness, there’s no easy cure-all. Each case has to be examined individually and treated as such, since each case is unique. Another little known fact is that eating disorders have a higher mortality rate than any other mental illness.
Correcting misconceptions about eating disorders is important for those looking for treatment in eating disorders programs as well as for family members and doctors. By focusing on a need for long-term eating disorders treatment, these myths will eventually give way to fact.
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