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Common misconceptions about eating disorders

Updated: Apr 19

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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. Get in touch with us today.


1. 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.


2. 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.


3. 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.


4. 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.


5. Only women can have eating disorders.

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


6. 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.


7. 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.


8. 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.

9. 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.


Need support for an eating disorder? Reach out to our caring team today

Please reach out to our caring team at Schoen Clinic if you need support for yourself or a loved one. Our specialists in London, Birmingham and York offer highly specialised treatments for children, teens and adults.

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