Myths And Misconceptions About Anorexia

Published on November 4th, 2015

Updated on January 3rd, 2024

Anorexia Myths

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that affects many people. It is treatable and requires awareness about the condition and how it affects a person’s mental health.

Many incorrect assumptions about anorexia may be preventing people from seeing proper care. Review the following myths and misconceptions about anorexia to learn more about the condition.

Anorexia Only Affects Young, Middle Class, White Females

Anorexia can affect anyone. Many cases of anorexia may go unnoticed and not receive proper care. This can be due to different reasons, like:

Affordable Online Therapy

Choose a therapist to work with and start healing with 20% off from BetterHelp.

Click Here

Anorexia is About Appearance

Anorexia can seem to be about appearance, but there are deeper issues that fuel the condition. A case of anorexia typically begins with an intention to lose weight. Deeper-rooted mental health challenges cause weight loss or dieting efforts to progress into anorexia. It may start as a desire to lose weight or improve appearance, but it becomes about something more significant.

Anorexia Is Just About The Food

No eating disorder is just about the food, including anorexia. Even once the person has restored their weight and consistency with a meal plan, underlying mental health issues require attention.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is only one component of treatment for anorexia. To properly treat anorexia, the affected person’s other mental health issues must be addressed.

You Can Tell If a Person Has Anorexia

For some who struggle with anorexia, you might be able to tell based on their appearance. Someone’s very low weight may be an obvious sign that they struggle with anorexia, but not always.
Low body weight is just one symptom of anorexia. Those who have lost a significant amount of weight often go to great lengths to cover it up. They may wear layers and baggy clothes, or avoid social situations involving food.

People suffering from eating disorders are secretive. Some struggle with anorexia and never become significantly underweight. People with anorexia often fear someone saying “You do not look like you have anorexia.” In the same respect, some people are naturally thin and never suffer from an eating disorder. A person’s body shape, size, or appearance alone are not indicators of an eating disorder.

Anorexia Misconceptions

People With Anorexia Do Not Like Food

Those struggling with anorexia often love food and can become obsessed with it. These people develop a preoccupation with food, thinking about it constantly. The following behaviors involve a preoccupation with food:

Anorexia Is All About Control

Anorexia is often about control, but the beliefs about anorexia and control are often inaccurate. The common idea is that anorexia is about the control of one’s weight or food intake. True, that is how many gain a sense of control, yet, the need for control tends to go much deeper.

Those struggling with anorexia frequently feel out of control in many other areas of life. This is often due to early childhood trauma or other environmental factors. As a result, an affected person makes the control of food and weight a way to feel in control without actually addressing the origin of the problem.

Anorexia Is A Choice

Anorexia, just like any other eating disorder, is a serious mental health condition. No one chooses to have anorexia. Some may choose to begin dieting in an attempt to be more health-conscious. This may develop into using disordered behaviors around food, without the person even realizing it.

Dieting without proper intention and care can spiral into something much more harmful and life-threatening. Once this dieting progresses into more extreme behaviors, it is typically considered disordered eating and requires professional treatment.

Parents Are To Blame For Their Child’s Anorexia

Although the cause of anorexia varies depending on the person affected, some commonly understood factors tend to contribute to its development, and they do not all lead back to the parents. The following should be considered when exploring a person’s eating disorder history and origin:

People With Anorexia Just Restrict Their Food/Calories

Restricting food intake is a primary diagnostic feature of anorexia. Other behaviors are common to this eating disorder as well. Some who struggle with anorexia restrict their caloric intake with compensatory behaviors, including:

Bingeing and purging (ingesting large amounts of food in a short period and forcing food out of the body using vomiting or making self sick)

Anorexia Is A Phase

Many people think that anorexia is “just a phase.” This is an extremely damaging myth, as it often prevents parents from seeking treatment for their children at the onset of the disorder. It also can prevent people from getting the help they need, causing them to think they can take care of their disordered eating on their own.

The Person Will Be Recovered After Treatment

Seeking treatment is important for those struggling with anorexia. But what many do not understand is no one is ever 100% recovered from their anorexia after completing treatment.
Recovering from an eating disorder is a difficult process, requiring a lot of time, effort, and support. The recovery process is very up and down, with the potential for slips along the way.
After someone leaves treatment, it is important for family, friends, and loved ones to understand the person will need ongoing support and a long-term treatment plan.

Need to talk to someone?

Find an affordable therapist online with 20% off from BetterHelp.

Click Here

Link To This Article

Leave A Reply