In the U.S., 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their lives.
Eating disorders can include (but are not limited to) anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder or an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).
Millions more will struggle with destructive, disordered eating behaviors and thoughts that may fall outside of the diagnostic criteria.
Many of these cases will go undetected and untreated because of misinformation.
This list of nine truths was created to debunk common myths and promote early intervention, which can save lives. For various reasons, many cases are likely not to be reported.
Here are the nine truths about eating disorders:
Truth #1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.
Truth #2: Families are not to blame and can be the patients' and providers' best allies in treatment.
Truth #3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.
Truth #4: Eating disorders are not choices, but rather serious biologically influenced illnesses.
Truth #5: Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations and socioeconomic statuses.
Truth #6: Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.
Truth #7: Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.
Truth #8: Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.
Truth #9: Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.
What else do you need to know about eating disorders?
Lauren Muhlheim, PsyD, shares the nine truths about eating disorders and why it's so essential to treat an eating disorder as a serious disease.