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Eating disorders are prevalent medical and psychological conditions afflicting at least 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States at some point of time in their lives.

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Busting Myths Surrounding Eating Disorders in Teens

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busting myths surrounding eating disorders

Busting Myths Surrounding Eating Disorders in Teens

Busting Myths Surrounding Eating Disorders in Teens

Eating disorders are prevalent medical and psychological conditions afflicting at least 20

million women and 10 million men in the United States at some point of time in their lives.

These are serious disorders with debilitating effects on interpersonal relationships,

productivity, social engagements, and physical and psychological well-being of a person.

There are five types of eating

disorders – anorexia nervosa,

bulimia nervosa, binge eating

disorder, avoidant restrictive

food intake disorder (ARFID) and

other specified feeding or eating

disorder (OSFED). Of all the

mental illnesses, eating disorders








misconceptions surrounds the



complicates their understanding.







Listed below are some of the common myths surrounding eating disorders and the facts

dispelling those myths:

1.Myth – Eating disorder is a choice. One can be cured when one decides.

Fact–This is a false view as eating disorders do not affect a person by choice. They happen

due to environmental or genetic factors. Environmental factors could be pre-existing

physical disorders, exposure to bullying during growing up years, and various other life

stressors. On the other hand, genetic factors predispose an individual when an illness runs

in the family across generations.

2.Myth – Only very thin people struggle with eating disorders.

Fact–Media glorifies an eating disorder when someone looks frail or hugely wasted.

However, this is not the case always. Just because someone has reached a normal weight

does not mean that he or she could be free from an eating disorder. The illness can affect

a person of any weight.

3.Myth – Eating disorders are only linked with an obsession with food.

Fact–A person grappling with an eating disorder could be obsessed with food, body

image or weight. Additionally, eating disorders are also found to be co-occurring in people

diagnosed with anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.


4 myth binge eating means excess eating on some

4.Myth – Binge eating means excess eating on some occasions.

Fact–No, binge eating and occasional overeating are two different phenomena. Binge

eating pertains to eating excessively on more than one occasion, at least once a week for

a period of three months. Binge eating disorder afflicts nearly 3.5 percent women and 2

percent men in America. It might start affecting a person’s life gradually, but occasional

overeating may not.

5.Myth – Eating disorders affect females only.

Fact–Eating disorders are gender neutral, affecting both men and women. Unfortunately,

these are generally considered as women problems, which deters men to come forward

and seek help. In a study involving military personnel, nearly 5.5 percent women and 4

percent men were diagnosed with eating disorders at the time of the commencement of

the study. After a couple of years, 3.3 percent more women and 2.6 percent additional

men were reported to have an eating disorder.

Eating disorders in teenagers

Teen years are vulnerable times when children are highly responsive to the changes around

them but have poor decision-making abilities. Many adolescent children want to get into a

perfect body shape and, to do so, they might adopt unhealthy habits. Watching peers

flaunting their figures and celebrities endorsing thin bodies can arouse the desire to imitate

their style, which can go wrong.

It is important to understand that eating disorders are life-threatening but treatable. If left

undiagnosed or untreated, they can lead to a plethora of other problems like cessation of

menstrual cycles in females, lower body weight, bone loss, osteopenia (related to lower bone

density) and painful fractures. Eating disorders are also linked with kidney and cardiovascular


Recovery from eating disorders is possible

As adults, it is our duty to carefully look for the symptoms of eating disorders in teenagers

and check if they are skipping meals, weighing frequently, and experiencing constipation,

frequent nausea, insomnia, dental cavities, dry skin, loss of hair, or low self-confidence. Such

children can also harbor self-harm tendencies and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The earlier

one recognizes the warning signs, the better chances are for proper recovery. Eating

disorders in teens can be treated with timely intervention.

Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego understands that teen eating disorder is a big problem

in the U.S., so we provide evidence-based treatment to overcome it. If your teen is showing

symptoms of an eating disorder, call our 24/7 helpline (866) 512-1981. Our teen eating

disorder treatment centers provide a safe and tranquil environment conducive to the child’s

holistic recovery.