When someone hears the words eating disorder, they often think of anorexia or bulimia.
What they usually don’t think of is binge eating disorder, diabulima, pica, EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), night eating syndrome, or any of the other types of eating disorders that exist.
When someone hears the words eating disorder, they often think of a girl and not a boy. I mean boys don’t get eating disorders right?
When someone hears the words eating disorder, most of the time they think of a white girl, because “only white girls get eating disorders.”
When someone hears the words eating disorder, they often think of a severely underweight girl who hasn’t eaten in days. If you have an eating disorder you have to be underweight, and of course you never eat.
When someone hears the words eating disorder, they might think of a vein, self-obsessed teenager who cares too much about her appearance. Well that’s what an eating disorder is about — it’s all about appearance.
When someone hears the words eating disorder, they probably think of someone who craves attention.
But the reality is this is not the truth.
The truth is there are many different types of eating disorders. The truth is boys can have eating disorders too; people of all genders can struggle with an eating disorder. The truth is you can have an eating disorder regardless of your race, ethnicity or skin color. The truth is you don’t have to be underweight to have an eating disorder, eating disorders are mental illnesses, sometimes with physical side effects. The truth is eating disorders are about so much more than appearance. The truth is eating disorders are not about seeking attention, they are not a choice.
But people rarely hear the words “eating disorder,” so how would they know the truth?
It’s time people hear the words eating disorder. This is why we need to talk about eating disorders more. The stigma and misunderstanding around eating disorders needs to change. Eating disorders are serious. Eating disorders kill. The words “eating disorder” need to be heard.
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Getty image via VolodymyrKozin