Eating Disorder Myth 1: Let's Bust Some Myths


Over the next week or so, I will post some myth about eating disorders. The myth is in the picture and the 'answer' in the text below. Let's bust some myths!

Myth 1

No! You don’t have to be thin or emaciated to have an eating disorder. Overweight and average-weight people experience eating disorders too. Eating disorders take many forms (we know of at least 20 different types of eating disorder), and not just the form where people starve themselves/restrict food.

People who binge on unhealthy amounts of food and purge themselves by vomiting or taking laxatives may not look like they’re 'wasting away' or emaciated, but they’re still doing severe damage to their bodies and need to seek treatment.

Only a very small proportion of people with eating disorders are very underweight or emaciated - weight is not an indicator of an eating disorder despite what your GP, psychiatrist, media or others might say. We have 100s of people every year in various settings (groups, training, workshops, one-to-one etc) since starting in 2010 and every single person looks different, are different shapes, weights and sizes. Most are not severely emaciated, and diagnosis of an eating disorder based on weight is not only dangerous but extremely inappropriate and stigmatising.

So, next time you are walking down the street please remember that any one of those people in the street could be struggling with an eating disorder. We simply cannot tell by simply looking at someone whether they are experiencing an eating disorder.

Alexandra O'Brien and Talking EDs (Glasgow & West Eating Disorders Service) © (2012, 2018). All Rights Reserved.


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