Common misconceptions about eating disorders

Eating disorders can affect anyone, of any age, and often don't have one single cause – as multiple factors usually play a role.

Recovering from an eating disorder often requires more than just dietary intervention, and at Schoen Clinic, our specialists work to identify underlying causes through an integrated treatment approach.

Here we clear up some of the most common misconceptions about eating disorders.

If you need eating disorder support for yourself or a loved one, get in touch with our caring team today.


Eating disorders are only about food and weight.

An eating disorder, at its root, is the expression of emotional distress and means of managing difficult and painful feelings.


People with eating disorders are always underweight.

A person doesn't need to be underweight to have anorexia. Due to the cultural stigma associated with being overweight, they might not receive a diagnosis as often.

In addition, a person can be underweight without having anorexia.


Recovering from an eating disorder is as simple as “just eating more.”

Eating disorder recovery isn't as simple as "just eating more". The process of recovering from an eating disorder takes time, continuous support, and specialised, efficient care.

It is important to recognise eating disorder recovery is achievable.


Eating disorders are caused by a lack of willpower or self-control.

There will always be a number of factors in the development of an eating disorder and each individual will be affected by a unique combination.

There is never one simple, single cause of eating disorders, although sometimes there may be one factor in a person’s life which plays a particularly prominent role in his or her eating disorder.


Only women can have eating disorders.

Eating disorders can affect anyone, of any age, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity.


Eating disorders are uncommon.

Eating disorders are more common than you think. According to Beat, the UKs leading eating disorders charity, around 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder.


Men cannot have eating disorders.

Men can and do suffer from eating disorders. Recognising this, raising awareness of it and ensuring that men also receive treatment for eating disorders can help to end the stigma.


Eating disorders are a result of bad parenting or a dysfunctional family.

As mentioned previously, there could be any number of factors that could play a role in developing an eating disorder.

Families are an essential part of the recovery from eating disorders.


Anorexia nervosa is the most common type of eating disorder.

According to recent statistics, the most prevalent eating disorder is binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder (BED) is more complex than just overeating from time to time.

Although overeating plays a role in this condition, there are other factors as well. It may possibly pose a life-threatening situation if left untreated.


Schoen Clinic specialists are here to help

Schoen Clinic Newbridge

Schoen Clinic Newbridge offers highly specialised inpatient treatment for children and young people (8-18 years) and a specialised outpatient service for young people (12-25 years) experiencing eating disorders and their associated problems. Welcoming NHS and private patients.

Schoen Clinic Chelsea

Schoen Clinic Chelsea is a leading London outpatient clinic in the heart of Chelsea.

Offering a specialised day treatment programme for children and young people (11-17 years) with eating disorders, as well as fast one-to-one Consultant appointments for young people (6-17 years) and adults (18+).

Welcoming privately insured and self-funding patients.

Schoen Clinic York

Schoen Clinic York offers highly specialised inpatient treatment for adults (18 years +) with diagnosed eating disorders and their associated problems.

Welcoming NHS and private patients.