Let’s Bust the Myths about Eating Disorders

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One of the most surprising facts about eating disorders is that they’re not about the food at all. Rather, eating disorders are about coping with and controlling painful emotions. At Awakenings Treatment Center, we often discover that our clients feel a lack of control over their lives, so they focus on taking control of the foods they eat. They also satisfy themselves with a false sense of control by abusing laxatives, diuretics and diet pills.

If you or someone you love is dealing with an eating disorder, our dual diagnosis rehab in California can help. We take a multidisciplinary approach that addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual healing of each client. We can also simultaneously treat depression, trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder and substance abuse.

In the meantime, here are a few myths we would like to crush about eating disorders so that you can be properly informed.

Myth: Eating disorders are a choice.

Fact: Eating disorders are complex medical and psychiatric conditions.

Eating disorders are not a choice. While the exact cause of these disorders is not known, medical experts believe that certain biological and environmental triggers increase the likelihood of developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders also commonly co-occur with other conditions like depression or anxiety.

Myth: Eating disorders are not dangerous.

Fact: Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness.

Eating disorders are extremely dangerous. First, there are medical complications that can occur with purging, starvation, over-exercising and binge eating. Second, suicide is a potential complication of the disease. Lastly, eating disorders can lead to fatal health consequences, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, gastrointestinal problems and vitamin deficiencies.

Myth: Only girls have eating disorders.

Fact: Eating disorders can affect any gender.

Eating disorders are more common in females, but they can happen to males, too. In fact, researchers are becoming more aware of males and non-binary individuals seeking help for eating disorders. One study from the CDC found that one-third of all people suffering from eating disorders are male. Bottom line: Eating disorders do not discriminate.

Myth: Eating disorders only affect teenagers.

Fact: Eating disorders can occur or re-emerge at any age.

Sadly, there is an increasing number of young children being diagnosed with eating disorders. Even though the disease is more common in adolescence, it’s believed that certain thoughts and behaviors surface much earlier. Also, treatment for eating disorders is lifelong, as individuals can relapse.

Myth: Eating disorders are all about weight.

Fact: Eating disorders are complex and have many underlying factors.

Eating disorders are an obsession with food, weight and appearance. It is believed that they stem from the need to control painful emotions. Genetics, temperament, environment, trauma and social pressures all play a role in the onset of this condition. Fortunately, research is progressive and continues to tell us more about this disease.

Awakenings Treatment Center offers multidisciplinary treatment for eating disorders, and we can treat other co-occurring conditions as well. We will work with you or a loved one to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Contact our outpatient mental health facilities today to learn more.