Common myths surrounding eating disorders
The fad of low weight with perfect curves and a slim waist has taken a toll on many people, especially women. Therefore, many of them have gone to great lengths to reduce their waistlines, possibly to a size zero. Amidst all this, what they comprise on first is food. They believe that altering the food pattern or starving would help them reduce the extra kilos and get the desired curves. However, this is not true.
Changing food habits to starve oneself can cause significant impact on overall health and lead to various physical and mental health problems like eating disorders. Although it may sound very unlikely, but eating disorders are for real and fall under the umbrella of mental disorders. The tendency to starve or binge eat only to purge later are characteristic symptoms of anorexia and bulimia, respectively, which are types of eating disorders.
In India, unfortunately, eating disorders are not very well recognized. People still believe that this disorder is limited to the western countries. According to Dr. Udipi Gauthamadas, a neuro-behavioral expert who has been treating eating disorders in India, about 20 to 40 percent adolescent girls and 20 percent adolescent boys suffer from disturbed eating patterns and unhealthy eating attitudes.
Myths surrounding eating disorders
Apart from the zeal to reduce weight, eating disorders can also develop from a combination of biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors. However, due to lack of awareness and education, there are plenty of misconceptions surrounding this mental health disorder. A few of them are:
- Eating disorders can be identified with appearance
Many people assume that eating disorders can be identified with looks and appearance. However, this is not true. Medically, an eating disorder can afflict anybody irrespective of the class, gender, age, community, or body weight.
- Eating disorders occur due to lifestyle choices
Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions and therefore can occur due to a combination of reasons including genetic predisposition and environmental stressors. Additionally, some people can also develop the disorder as a mechanism to cope with their emotional and mental upheavals. The individuals suffering from eating disorders often find it difficult to recover from the condition and instead learn to live with it, which makes it look as if it is their chosen lifestyle.
- Eating disorders are related to weight and food only
Eating disorders may appear to be all about not eating properly and reducing body weight. However, it is a complex condition that cannot be treated by just eating right. Apart from affecting the food pattern and behavior, an eating disorder also affects other body functions and can cause mental disorders like depression and anxiety.
- Eating disorders get treated with normal body weight
Since, eating disorders are commonly associated with food and body weight, people assume that attaining a normal body weight and improving diet can sort matters. However, the truth is that, an eating disorder is a mental health condition, which necessarily needs proper diagnosis and medical treatment for complete recovery. Apart from affecting the body, an eating disorder can significantly affect the behavior and psychological health of an individual, which would need professional help for recovery.
Road to recovery
With lean and skinny models being depicted as the ideal body type by the fashion industry, the struggle with food and body image has been culturally accepted and suffering from an eating disorder is considered normal. However, eating disorders are debilitating conditions that can depreciate a person’s quality of life. Therefore, it is essential to treat an eating disorder on time.
If you or a loved one is suffering from or experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder or any other mental health disorder then get in touch with Athena Behavioral Health center. Our trained and experienced nurses can explain how an eating disorder can affect a person, not only physically but mentally as well. Call our 24/7 mental health helpline 9289086193 or chat online with our admission counsellor to know more about our mental health rehab center.