Skip to Main Content

The Myths of Eating Disorders

By Alesha Miller, MS, LLP

Debunking some of the most common Myths about Eating Disorders.

Myth: Eating disorders are not a big deal.

Fact: Many people believe eating disorder are just about food and often encourage their loved one to eat more, eat less, or eat healthier. Eating disorders are complex mental health issues that often co-occur with other mental health diagnoses, such as depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. While some individuals with eating disorders recover without treatment, many will continue to struggle until they seek help.

Myth: Only teenagers develop eating disorders. They will eventually grow out of it.

Fact: Eating disorders can develop at any age. While most of the literature focuses on adolescents, eating disorders are also seen in children and adults. Many adults who are diagnosed with an eating disorder often develop disordered eating in adolescence and will often not seek treatment unless it impairs their daily functioning.

Myth: Only girls are at risk for developing an eating disorder.

Fact: While females are diagnosed more frequently with eating disorders, males can also develop eating disorders. The number of males who struggle with eating disorders is not well known. Since many believe only women struggle with disordered eating, symptoms of disordered eating are often overlooked in men. In addition, many males do not seek treatment unless the impact on daily functioning is severe.

Myth: If someone is not severely underweight, it is not that big of a problem.

Fact: Many individuals who struggle with eating disorders are not classified as underweight. Those diagnosed with bulimia and binge eating disorder often have a normal BMI or are classified as overweight. Though many health complications occur due to a severely low BMI, there are health consequences that accompany binge eating, purging, and over-exercising.

Myth: People who have eating disorders are only doing it for attention.

Fact: Many individuals who have an eating disorder often go to great lengths to hide their symptoms. This is often out of fear that someone will make them stop or out of shame. Those who begin to lose weight due to their eating disorder may enjoy positive comments they receive about their appearance initially, but the attention becomes unwanted as their eating disorder progresses.

Interested in learning more or seeking support for yourself or a loved one? We can help! Call us at 734-416-9098 to set up an appointment with a therapist who specializes in eating disorder treatment.