Why are there so many myths and misinformation when it comes to eating disorders? It has been a mental health illness that has plagued women and men throughout history and yet we still have so much stigma and bias towards eating disorders. Let’s understand why and disprove some myths.
It probably won’t come as a shock to say we live in a culture that values appearances. For example, North American culture has placed value on thinness in women and low body fat in men. This is propagated by images in magazines, celebrity life on social media, the actors and actresses we see in movies and TV and even the mannequins displayed in store windows. Not only can this lead to a personal struggle of self-acceptance, but can also cause us to ignore the signs and symptoms of someone struggling with an eating disorder.
Myth 1: You can tell someone has an eating disorder by looking at them.
Fact: Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes.
Myth 2: Eating disorders are a choice.
Fact: This one is dangerous because it can lead to blaming the individual for the mental health illness. Due to our cultural bias we may associate thinness as a “good” thing to strive for. However, the fact is, someone may choose to diet, but they do not choose to have an eating disorder.
Myth 3: Only teenagers have eating disorders
Fact: As young as 6 years old, girls begin to express concerns over weight and shape. Additionally, older adults can also have an eating disorder and may have been struggling with one for years. It is important to not let age be a factor.
Myth 4: Only females get eating disorders
Fact: In the U.S., 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from some type of clinically significant disordered eating. Men may also under report disordered eating.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, or you’d like to learn more about services offered, please contact the Intake Department at Specialized Therapy Associates at 201.488.6678 to hear about our individual and group services.