6 Common Eating Disorder Myths

Often, we don’t realize that we hear many myths about eating disorders. And at The Eating Disorder Center of Denver, we do not want these myths to create barriers for individuals affected by eating disorders. Our eating disorder centers will present you with the real facts regarding all classifications of eating disorders.

Read further for 6 common myths about eating disorders:

1. Eating disorders only happen to adolescent girls

Eating disorders can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. In fact, between the years of 2001 and 2010 there was a 42 percent increase in eating disorders among middle-aged women. Furthermore, since 2000, the number of men diagnosed with eating disorders has increased by 30 percent. What’s more, the most common type of eating disorder, known as binge eating disorder, occurs almost equally between women and men.

2. To meet the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder, the sufferer must be underweight.

This is false. The only eating disorder with a criterion for being underweight is anorexia nervosa. Individuals with other eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, binge eating, and diabulimia are often not underweight. Most importantly, body weight is not the only method of establishing the seriousness of an individual’s eating disorder. All eating disorders affect many aspects of the sufferer’s life, including mood, academics, occupation, family life, and other relationships.

3. Eating disorders are all about food.

Eating disorders are about much more than food, and eating simply cannot cure sufferers. Going deeper, an eating disorder is a method to help the sufferer cope with specific stresses and emotions. It is because of this that most eating disorders are not cured without treatment. Eating disorder centers help sufferers find healthier ways to cope.

4. Most people with eating disorders either have anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

According to The Binge Eating Disorder Association, binge eating disorder is the most common type of eating disorder. Another common type of eating disorder is called Otherwise Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OFSED).

Individuals who suffer from OFSED have a range of eating disorder symptoms, but do not meet the diagnostic criteria for a specific type of eating disorder. For example, the sufferer may meet all diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa, but their weight is still considered to be in the average range.

5. Eating disorders are a phase and usually one will just grow out of it.

Eating disorders are a serious mental health disorder, usually occurring alongside another mental health diagnosis such as anxiety or depression. Most eating disorders do not go away without treatment, and untreated eating disorders are extremely dangerous.

Untreated eating disorders can lead to permanent physical damage and sometimes death. The Eating Disorder Center of Denver has a specialized team of dieticians, family therapists, art therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists who will provide patients with personalized treatment.

6. Anorexia nervosa is the only type of eating disorder that is fatal.

Do not be fooled. All types eating disorders, when left untreated, can lead to premature death. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders. A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found the mortality rates of eating disorders are as follows:

  • Anorexia nervosa, 4%
  • Bulimia nervosa, 3.9%
  • Eating disorder, not otherwise specified, 5.2%

If you or a loved one believes you may have an eating disorder please do not suffer with this difficult problem alone. Contact the Eating Disorder Center of Denver to find out how you can receive care and treatment. For more information or to schedule an assessment call us at 866-771-0861.