Eating Disorder Myths: Debunked

10 Common Myths

Myth #1: People who are normal or overweight can not have eating disorders.

It is difficult to predict whether or not someone has an eating disorder because not all eating disorders are determined by the size and weight of a person. In the case of anorexia, an eating disorder may be easier to detect due to the presence of thinness. However, an eating disorder is not always easy to detect based on weight. Bulimics tend to be at an average, or even above average, weight. Compulsive overeaters are typically overweight rather than underweight. If you find that you or a loved one may have an eating disorder, an eating disorder residential center may be of assistance. These residential centers address a variety of eating disorders and often have special bulimia programs, anorexia treatment therapy or offer assisstance for binge eaters.

Myth #2: Only teenagers are affected by eating disorders.

Eating disorder can occur at any age. This myth may be common because approximately 86% of sufferers are under the age of 20.

Myth #3: Eating disorders are not life threatening.

Every eating disorder can be potentially life threatening if not treated in time or with the proper care. Even if death does not occur, permanent physical and neurological damage can happen. These complications include heart disease, a ruptured esophagus, diabetes, cancer and stroke. An eating disorder is a life threatening disorder, which is why so many eating disorder treatment clinics are available today.

Myth #4: All bulimics purge by self-induced vomiting.

Bulimics typically binge and purge, but sufferers do not always purge by self-induced vomiting. In some cases over exercising, fasting, or diuretics and laxatives are used. Bulimia clinics are open to offer hope to people with bulimia as they are brought to recovery.

Myth #5: Laxatives prevent calorie absorption.

Many people with eating disorders, primarily those in need of bulimia help, use laxatives. These laxatives are used in an attempt to rush food out of the body before its calories are absorbed. In reality, laxatives begin their work in the body’s colon where calories can not even be absorbed. Laxatives only assist in draining the body of its necessary fluids and in causing colon problems.

Myth #6: Compulsive overeaters have no self-control and are lazy.

Compulsive overeaters are not lazy or merely people without self control. For most compulsive eaters, food is used as a way of coping with stressful situations or overwhelming emotions. Just like any other eating disorder, compulsive overeaters need assistance and a helpful eating disorder treatment center.

Myth #7: You can never exercise too much.

While in most cases exercise can be very beneficial, too much exercise, and not enough calorie absorption in the body, is harmful. Excessive exercise can be very unhealthy causing problems such as stress fractures, chronic pain, osteoporosis, menstrual dysfunction and even death.

Myth #8: It is impossible to have more than one eating disorder.

The assumption that someone can only have one eating disorder is completely false. Many people have more than one eating disorder. For those people who have symptoms of more than one type of eating disorder, or who do not specifically fit the criteria for one, they may be classified as a separate type of eating disorder. This eating disorder is titled EDNOS, and is used for those with more than one type of eating disorder.

Myth #9: Those with eating disorders are vain.

While an eating disorder may start out as a form of dieting, eating disorders are far more than acts of vanity. Often, eating disorders are coping mechanisms used to deal with stress, anxiety, self-hatred, control issues and shame. Eating disorders are not about a struggle with vanity, but rather a distraction from the problems of life. A good eating disorder residential program will assist its patients with these psychological problems as well as with any physical ones.

Myth #10: Only women can be affected by eating disorders.

Women are not the only ones who can suffer from eating disorders. In fact, 1 in 10 cases of eating disorders affect men.