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Eating Disorders Myths


Eating disorders are more common than most of the people think and little by little people are starting to realize that and are acting on that. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of things that need a lot of work, including finding out the myths about EDs and leading people into the accepting of all people. Im not afraid anymore to say that as a girl whos slowly (but hopefully successfully) recovering from an eating disorder, I hate how distorted the view of a big part of the world has for EDs is. Food and weight are the main topics that come into most of the minds when we discuss about this subject, but if people stopped a little bit with this ignorance and started to search for what this really is, they would know that its just not about that. In fact, eating disorders are rarely focused on food or weight themselves. For these reasons, I am going to talk about a few myths that, for some logical explanation, people have internalized in their brains, which are hardly the truth.

1. Eating Disorders are about food


If you look out for the meaning of an eating disorder, you will find that its actually a mental disease, thus the disorder word. Its not as easy as people think. Many friends of mine and family members have told me that I have to eat more or eat many hamburgers. Well, think a little: if a person has a depression, will you tell him/her to laugh and that will go away? Of course you wont. What I want you to understand is that malnutrition of the individual isnt the real problem in this situation. Its a symptom, a result that comes from deep and serious core issues.

2. Youre just going through a phase! In a few years we will cry of laughter!
If youre talking to a disorder person, thats probably a really stupid thing to say. If you are a disorder person, youre even stupider or quite blind. My apologies for the used word, but it is the truth. Eating disorders are the type of mental illness that causes more deaths. If not diagnosed in time, its likely that a person who suffers from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binging eating disorder or an eating disorder not otherwise specified will die from it or have several organism failures in the future. Fortunately, there are treatments which reduce the mortality rate to less 4%. However, there are many people who are struggling hard with an eating disorder and they dont understand how the treatment can be helpful in their cases. Some of them think this is really just a phase, when in reality it isnt. Im the living experience of that. I lived one entire year thinking that once I finished 10th grade, things would be back to normal and Id be okay again. But I wasnt.

3. Eating disorders are about vanity, beauty and getting attention


They may be but that mostly happens when a certain person wants to become a model or wants to fit into a group and that leads him/her to think that he/she is only beautiful if he/she is very thin.
Sara Vieira Gonalves N27 11th B

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When the person begins to lose some weight especially if they were a little beady before that person usually gets congratulated by others. But as the time passes, those same people who congratulated the disorder person stop looking it as a good thing and start looking it as a bad one. That initial attention we were looking for starts being negative and unwanted.

4. Only very skinny/fat people have eating disorders


Wrong. There are more people who have a healthy weight struggling with an eating disorder than people who naturally are under or overweight for their structure. However, Ive learned one thing: its obviously important to be healthy (mind, body and soul) but weight is just a number and that number cannot define your personality and your mental state. Dont ignore other peoples disorder behaviors just because they look alright; they may be just as bad as or worse than someone who looks sick.

5. EDs only reach female teenagers


Although 86% of eating disorder diagnoses occur in people under the age of 20, anyone can be affected. The rate of eating disorders has been rising, showing that middle-aged and post-menopausal women also are affected, which researchers compare to the classic male mid-life crisis. There are also a lot of men being affected by EDs, but due to traditional gender roles, the diagnosis seems harder to get.

6. If a disorder person starts treatment, theyre immediately cured


Getting better is a long process. Its not easy, but its definitely worthy. Most of the time it includes help from many specialized doctors, including medical problems, nutrition, weight restoration, psychological and social counseling. There are individuals whose treatment lasts for more than two years. It is indeed a very delicate, complicated and intense process.

7. Eating disorders are a lifestyle that people choose


I dont think anyone in their healthy state of mind choose to be sick in any kind of way. Unfortunately many eating disorders develop themselves because the person has started a diet or decided that he/she wanted to follow healthier eating and exercise patterns. Others, like me, get sick because theyre trying to achieve perfectionism something unreal , and they get overly stressed. Nevertheless, eating disorders can happen for several other reasons that even the person him/herself cant explain. Just like eating disorders themselves, eating disorder myths are everywhere. These are only a few, but the list is quite long.

Sara Vieira Gonalves N27 11th B