Eating Disorders Aren't What You Think; Experts Bust Myths

The Academy of Eating Disorders has released a list of things they say people should know about eating disorders.

Somdatta Saha  |  Updated: February 03, 2020 11:25 IST

  • Eating disorder is disorder beyond food
  • The causes of eating disorders are not still clear
  • Eating disorders dont always reflect someone who's thin or overweight

Eating disorder - what does this term mean to you? Very simply if we see, it will mean some disorder related to food, but it is actually beyond food. In severe cases, eating disorders can cause serious health consequences and may even result in death, if left untreated. A generic definition says, eating disorder is a psychological disorder defined by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person's physical and mental health. This includes both binge eating and very little eating due to fear of gaining weight. Anxiety, depression and substance abuse are common among people with eating disorder. The causes of eating disorders are not still clear. However, there are several myths around causes and symptoms of eating disorder. Hence, The Academy of Eating Disorders has released a list of things they say people should know about eating disorders. This was done with an intention to bust the stigma and improve knowledge regarding this problem.

(Also Read: Are You Struggling With An Eating Disorder? Signs and Symptoms To Tell)

Here Are The Top 6 From The List:

People can look healthy. Eating disorders don't always reflect someone who is extremely thin or someone who is overweight. Normal weight patients can also have eating disorders.

Families are not to blame. "Family members may feel overwhelmed when a loved one is dealing with an eating disorder. It's really tough when parents are scared," says Dr. Shawna Newman, director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

An eating disorder is a health crisis. Eating disorders are more than just a minor bump in the road; it affects a person's psychological well-being and can have long-term physical and mental effects.

Eating disorders aren't choices. An eating disorder can psychologically take hold of a person. "When a person has gotten themselves to a point where their brain is effectively rewired to think differently about how they look, it's similar to trauma," says Newman.

Genes and environment play a role. People have different genetic and cultural factors that play a part in weight.

Full recovery is possible. Changing dietary habits is never easy. "It can take long time. You can change your behaviours and re-train, but to change your core belief is very challenging, but with compassion, sensitivity and concern, we can decrease the rate of eating disorders," says Newman.

Hence, we must keep in mind that we might be wrong in judging a person just by his/her appearance and habits. Never judge a book by its cover!

(Also Read: 'Clean Eating' May Lead To Eating Disorders, Says Study)


About Somdatta SahaExplorer- this is what Somdatta likes to call herself. Be it in terms of food, people or places, all she craves for is to know the unknown. A simple aglio olio pasta or daal-chawal and a good movie can make her day.

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