There are many myths surrounding not only the cause of eating disorders but also surrounding eating disorder recovery as well. It is myths like these that make it hard for many people to come forward and seek out help from an eating disorder recovery center. To help truly understand what it means to have an eating disorder, it is essential to dispel many of the commonly known myths that are often associated with them.
Myth #1 – Eating Disorders Are a Lifestyle Choice
Many people falsely believe that people who have an eating disorder are making a choice to overeat, not eat, or avoid eating certain foods. Unfortunately having an eating disorder does not mean changing it is as simple as choosing to stop. Most often eating disorders stem from a distorted image of the individual’s body. Eating disorder recovery requires learning new ways to cope with emotional issues as well as treat the underlying problems causing the emotions.
Myth #2 – Not All Eating Disorders Are Serious’
Many eating disorders can result in life-threatening health conditions, and therefore all of them are treated as medical conditions that need proper treatment. Depriving the body of necessary nutrition can cause health conditions such as severe electrolyte imbalances as well as increase heart risks. Additionally repeated use of purging methods can also put a strain on the body leading to other health conditions besides complications from weight loss.
Myth # 3 – Eating Disorders Are Caused by Dysfunctional Families
When a loved one is diagnosed with an eating disorder, many parents and their families may ask themselves what they have done to cause their loved one to be affected by the condition. The truth is those affected by eating disorders range in all type of backgrounds and come from all forms of family situations. Genetic and emotional factors also play a role in eating disorders showing that there is no one true cause for them. What is known is that families that participate in their loved one’s recovery will help them to achieve a better outcome and provide them with the best chance of overcoming it.
Myth #4 – Only Women Can Have Eating Disorders
Many people are under the misconception that only females may be affected by eating disorders. Studies have shown that both genders can be affected by eating disorders with a significant percentage of people being diagnosed being males. There has been a recent increase in eating disorder diagnosis in males which could be affected more directly by the acknowledgment that both genders can be affected more than a rise in the actual instances of eating disorders in men. It is essential for this myth to be dispelled in the medical field so that men can achieve the proper diagnosis so that they can seek out the treatment they need.
Myth #5 – Eating Disorders Only Occur with Teenagers and Young Adults
While most eating disorders will manifest when someone enters their teens or young adult years, the thoughts and behaviors that will turn into the disorder can occur as young as five or six years old. Additionally, older adults can be affected by an eating disorder or may experience a recurrence of their previous eating disorder as they get older. Also, now with eating disorders being watched for in younger children, there have been many cases of eating disorders starting in early childhood.
Myth #6 – You Can Never Recover from an Eating Disorder
While persevering over an eating disorder can be a long and multifaceted approach with proper treatment at an eating disorder recovery center, it is possible to achieve a full recovery from an eating disorder and preventing recurrence later in life. It is vital to know that treatment is effective and dispelling this myth is essential in ensuring people seek out the treatment they need.