5 Things You Should Never Assume About People With Eating Disorders


Everyone who has an eating disorder is different. Here are five things you should never assume:

1. You are visibly ill.

You don’t have to look sick in order to actually be sick. When people hear you have an eating disorder, their initial thought is usually, “Huh, well you don’t look like you have one,” or “You look healthy to me.” What they don’t understand is that it’s not all physical when it comes to an eating disorder. A large majority of an eating disorder takes place in the brain. An unseen battle takes place in the mind.

2. If you just simply eat, then it will all get better.

Simple enough, right? If you just stop and eat this bagel, then things will start to get substantially better for you. Wrong. Eating disorders go much deeper than food. Eating disorders take hold of a person’s way of thinking, and it becomes a lot more complicated than just simply eating.

3. There are only two types of eating disorders.

Once someone finds out you have an eating disorder, they feel like they need to place you in a category of which eating disorder you have. However, what they don’t realize is no eating disorder is the same for every person. Each individual has their own rules and own mindset when it comes to their disorder. Although, there are four common types of eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). It’s common for anorexia and bulimia to be the first that come to a person’s mind.

4. People with eating disorders are vain.

Vanity and eating disorders couldn’t have less in common if they tried. Someone who’s vain thinks highly of themselves. They carry a high self-esteem. Whereas, someone who is struggling with an eating disorder more often than not has an extremely, low self-esteem and can never see themselves as good enough in any aspect of their life.

5. Eating disorders are a choice.

Eating disorders aren’t a choice. Genetics and environmental factors play a huge role in development. About 50 percent of risk in developing a mental illness is due to genetics and or biological factors. The rest can be situational, trauma and/or societal factors. Some people are more susceptible than others.

Image via Thinkstock.

 If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
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