Misconceptions of Eating Disorders Part 1

Eating Disorders Aren’t Serious 

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate compared to any other mental illness.

Many people who are suffering with an eating disorder, specifically anorexic’s are likely to die prematurely because of their illness.

Anorexics are more at risk of:

  • Heart failure due to having an abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure.
  • Severe dehydration.
  • Severe weakness.
  • Reduction of bone density.
  • Electrolyte imbalance.

Even though bulimics are said to be at a ‘normal’ weight, they can damage their bodies due to the excessive binge eating and purging to the extent that they begin to have an electrolyte imbalance. This can cause seizures, irregular heart beat, blood pressure changes, nervous system disorders and in worse cases..coma or death.

Bulimics are also more at risk of:

  • Severe dehydration.
  • High risk of heart and kidney failure.
  • Potential risk for gastric rupture due to binge eating.
  • Possible rupture of the esophagus due to frequent vomiting.
  • Peptic ulcers.
  • Pancreatitis.

People suffering with binge eating disorder are also more at risk of:

  • Potential risk of gastric rupture due to binge eating.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol levels.
  • Heart disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Gallbladder disease.

…so eating disorders aren’t serious huh?

People With Eating Disorders Are Just Attention Seeking 

So are you telling me that people who are continuously trying to hide their MENTAL ILLNESS are attention seeking? Nope, please try again.

People who have ‘come out’ about their eating disorder are not attention seeking. People who talk about their mental illness are more likely to recover as they are able to gain a support network for themselves.

This misconception can lead to loads of people to continue suffering with an eating disorder alone as they scared people are not taking their illness seriously and will be seen as attention seeking.

The large majority of individuals who have eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia do not think that they are ‘sick’ enough or ‘thin’ enough to be entitled for help. This is very scary and so so dangerous.

Eating Disorders Are Just A Phase 

Nope. Not at all. This misconception is WRONG WRONG WRONG!

Eating disorders are real mental disorders which are life threatening and they are just as serious as any other mental illness.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness. Does that not scare you? Why would we risk our health if it is ‘just a phase’?

Only White Adolescent Girls Get Eating Disorders 

Society has the overall perception that only white adolescent girls get eating disorders.

Eating disorders can affect anyone. It does not matter about their race, social class, age or gender.

Although many eating disorders develop during adolescence, it is not at all unusual for people to develop eating disorders earlier or later in life. In fact, we are aware of cases of anorexia in children as young as 6 and some research reports cases developing in women in their 70’s. Outside of the stereotypical age bracket, people are less likely to be appropriately diagnosed due to a lack of understanding and awareness of eating disorders in these age groups.

Statistics show that 11% of eating disorder sufferers are male. However, due to the stigma that is attached to eating disorders this statistic is likely to be inaccurate. Many males who have eating disorders are likely to suffer in silence.

‘I Have Seen Them Eating, They Don’t Have An Eating Disorder’

This is one of the misconceptions that I, myself have experienced. This one has got to be the one that frustrates me the most.

People who are struggling with eating disorders will go to great lengths just to make sure that their eating disorder is kept a secret. Anorexics may eat little amounts in front of people, especially their family in order to make people think that everything is normal.

People with eating disorders also tend to follow certain rules and behaviors which make people think that they are eating when in reality they are either hiding the food they are supposed to be eating or using certain techniques such as talking a lot during a meal and cutting up their food into small pieces in order to give people the impression that they are actually eating when really, that is not the case.

Bulimics may go through stages of binge eating and then going days without eating. In this case the signs of Bulimia go unnoticed. Bulimics like myself also follow certain behaviors such as ‘purging’ which is either induced vomiting, laxative abuse or excessive exercise. So remember, even though the person is eating in front of you, they are likely to be trying to get rid of the food and calories in some kind of way.

Binge Eating Disorder may also go unnoticed due to the fact that the individuals suffering tend to over eat.

In my case, I am always very scared to eat in front of people because of this stigma. People thought that because I was eating, I was fully recovered and did not have an eating disorder. Of course I wanted people to think I was okay and I did not want people to worry. In which case I ate to make other people happy but inside I was terrified of every bite and was continuously feeling disgusted with myself. I still have these thoughts to this day.

I also had/have many different distorted eating behaviors. One of them being ‘chewing and spitting’ which entails chewing the food but not swallowing it.

In some cases, many individuals may be trying to recover from their eating disorder. Just because they are eating and trying to recover does not mean they do not have an eating disorder. An eating disorder is not just about how much a person weighs or eats. It is about their mindset around food and the negative thoughts that the person may experience when eating.

If you have an eating disorder or know someone who is suffering. Please get help. An eating disorder is so so dangerous and feels like such a burden. Do not suffer alone.


Helpline 0808 801 0677

Youthline 0808 801 0711



03000 11 12 13


0300 123 3393



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