Many people know about anorexia nervosa, but not many people understand the intricacies of the illness. As a result, many falsehoods surround anorexia, preventing individuals from getting the right help and understanding their diagnosis further. Separating fact from fiction can help improve your understanding of anorexia and other eating disorders and help you get the best treatment.
Myth: Everyone with Anorexia Appears Dangerously Thin
One of the biggest myths about anorexia is that everyone suffering from it looks a certain way. Contrary to this idea, eating disorders affect bodies of all shapes and sizes. An individual’s physical appearance doesn’t always reflect the health of their relationship with food.
Fact: Eating disorders affect all bodies. Appearance alone does not dictate an anorexia diagnosis.
Myth: People With Anorexia Have Entire-Body Dysmorphia
Individuals suffering from anorexia will often zone in on particular areas of their body that they are unhappy with. So instead of seeing their whole body as an issue, people suffering from anorexia may have a singular focus on one or two body parts, clouding their overall judgment of their body relative to the norm.
Fact: People with anorexia often focus more on magnifying smaller imperfections, occasionally using them to represent their whole body.
Myth: You Can Recover from Anorexia by Simply Eating More
People often believe that individuals with anorexia have a problem with their food when the issues run much deeper. Several outside forces and thoughts may cause someone to stop eating, and they don’t involve the food. It’s often a matter of wanting to be in control of their feelings, or how much space they take up in the world (metaphorically and physically) or perceiving a sense of safety to feel the way they do. So, to compensate, they create the coping space they think they need to feel that safety; even if it’s not a healthy practice. Understanding that the problem isn’t just about the lack of eating can help you dive deeper into the mind of someone with anorexia.
Fact: Anorexia isn’t about what you eat and how much you eat. The individual’s mental and physical state results in their lack of food intake.
Myth: Anorexia Doesn’t Impact Men
Anorexia is typically considered a female disorder, with many people’s image of the typical anorexic patient being a teenage girl. While it occurs less often, men are capable of suffering from anorexia, although it may appear in different ways. With the stigma surrounding anorexia, men can be hesitant to speak up and more willing to cover their thoughts and feelings to prevent shame, which only leans into the myth even more. To understand the impact of anorexia, we must realize that men are also at risk of this eating disorder.
Fact: While it may occur less in men, anorexia is more than capable of affecting them.
Myth: Anorexia Cannot Be Inherited Genetically
Genetics and trauma also play a huge role in the likelihood of eating disorders. People with family members diagnosed with anorexia are 11 times more likely to develop the condition. Families with individuals diagnosed with other illnesses, such as bulimia nervosa, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, are also found to be more likely to develop an eating disorder.
Fact: If a parent or sibling is diagnosed with anorexia or another mental health disorder, the diagnosis chances for other family members increase.
Fact: A Treatment Center Can Help Combat Anorexia Nervosa
You don’t have to treat anorexia alone, and there are plenty of ways to help you discover the right path to combatting the effects of anorexia nervosa. Individuals can always turn to a professional treatment facility, with therapists focused on their well-being and health, and treatment plans like equine therapy, specially designed for each individual. If you or someone you know is searching for an anorexia nervosa treatment center, reach out to Selah House at 765.442.3551 or complete our contact form for help.