As per John Hopkins’ official statistics, astounding 30 million people have a certain type of eating disorder in America. 95% of these people are aged between 12-25 years. Eating disorders (EDs) have the highest mortality rate among all kinds of mental disorders. And yet there are people who refuse to treat eating disorders as a real illness.
It is about time we start talking about eating disorders seriously. And now is the perfect time.
The national eating disorder awareness week is organized annually to educate the general public about various eating disorders and extend support to individuals dealing with them. This year the week will be celebrated from February 27 to March 5, 2023.
National eating disorder awareness week was first started in the year 2000. Its ultimate goal is to spread awareness about the severity of eating disorders to every household and bring hope and acceptance to the individuals and families dealing with them. In order to be an active part of National eating disorder awareness week’s fight against misinformation about EDs, we debunk the most common myths prevalent around them.
Most Common Myths About Eating Disorders Debunked
#Myth 1: Only girls have eating disorders.
Definitely not true. Any person of any gender, ethnicity, nationality, or race can have an eating disorder. While the prevalence of eating disorders is higher in females, it is not absent in men. In fact, a full 10 million out of the 30 million above-stated individuals are men. As per a study by Dr. Preston, the higher probability in females is associated with the higher societal pressure attached to their body image.
Read more: Are PTSD And Eating Disorders Related?
#Myth 2: Eating disorders are not real illnesses. They are a choice.
This is one of the most common notions surrounding eating disorders and a variety of other psychological disorders. The things that most people have under control, we start believing that everyone has the same capacity to manage them. Unfortunately, these notions only lead to misjudgment and lack of awareness, both of which can be detrimental in the case of eating disorders.
Yes, eating disorders might begin as a choice, like as a part of going on a diet, etc. But they eventually transform into a serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses. And therefore, this national eating disorder awareness week, let us pledge to take eating disorders seriously and build a supportive environment for those dealing with them.
#Myth 3: You have to look a certain specific way to have an eating disorder.
This is one of the biggest ones. Eating disorders come in multiple forms, and people can have them for years without ever ‘looking like they have one.’ In fact, there are many more cases of eating disorders than those reported because many cases go undiagnosed. Therefore, let us stop putting the added pressure of proving their disorder to the society.
#Myth 4: Everyone has some sort of eating disorder.
This myth is based on how our society sees health and weight on a broad spectrum. Most people today are overwhelmed with the intense social pressure to look a certain way. The pursuit of this ideal body type is hyped by brands promising to sell it through their products. Everyone is joining a new kind of diet fad today. However, even though disorderly eating is common, having an eating disorder is far more complex and serious than that.
But this does not dismiss the struggle of those having a complicated relationship with food, their bodies, and the stress related to their body image. It can get incredibly difficult to have a safe relationship with food, given how obsessed we are with what we eat.
National eating disorder awareness week is an initiative to spread awareness about the impact of eating disorders and bring hope to the lives of millions who struggle with them. In our pursuit to be a part of the event, we have debunked the top myths about eating disorders. Let us hope to continue this chain of awareness and build a supportive and empathetic society for all.
Did you know that there are multiple types of eating disorders? To learn more about them, click here.
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