Eating disorders can be confusing illnesses to many who deal with regularly. Even trained professionals with years of experience diagnosing and treating these problems can be baffled by how they present. Because issues surrounding eating disorders can manifest in various ways, it is not uncommon for misinformation to make its way to people struggling with these ordeals. Dispelling myths surrounding this topic may offer some people clearer paths to treatment. Here are a few common eating disorder myths and the truth about these disorders.

Eating Disorders Are a Choice

Many people erroneously believe that people choose to eat in a disordered fashion. In most cases, people make plans for what they want to eat each day. Because society often plans meals for the day, week, or even month, a person dealing with an eating disorder might feel the problem is their fault. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Such disorders are illnesses with a variety of complex psychological factors involved. Individuals do not choose to look at their eating habits this way.

Eating Disorders Aren’t Huge Problems

A big myth in modern society is that an eating disorder is just a little quirk that someone can deal with easily. This problem is actually a psychiatric illness, and it has a fairly high mortality rate when one looks at all such disorders. Even if worst-case scenarios involving death aren’t present, medical issues can quickly become a problem due to things like stress eating, purging, excessive exercise, or unhealthy fasting. Specialized inpatient eating disorder treatment plans are designed to help people dealing with acute cases of these disorders.

Men Don’t Have Eating Disorders

This one is still a common misconception shared by many people. It is true that early research on the subject did not think to consider men in the equation. However, more recent work has shown that men make up a fairly sizeable portion of people suffering from eating disorders. Unfortunately, many physicians still don’t look for signs in men that could indicate that they might have an eating disorder. This oversight leads to the illness in men becoming more entrenched or severe by the time doctors take note.

It Only Affects Young People

Some assume that only young people have eating disorders. Because teens and other young people tend to have more issues with body image, there is a tendency for society to believe they will just grow out of it later. Disordered eating patterns can crop up at any age. These patterns can further lead to a late onset of an actual disorder or the reoccurrence of a prior problem.
Pervasive myths about eating disorders add to the confusion and fear that many people feel when trying to confront them. In addition, some of the misconceptions put forward on the topic could make it harder for struggling people to be taken seriously when they want to reach out for help. It is important to have the proper knowledge available to understand the true issues regarding these disorders.

Author's Bio: 

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan