Myths and misperceptions about eating disorders remain. A recent episode of the New York Times’ Retro Report was devoted to this issue. It highlights how far we’ve come, and underscores how far we still need to go to understand these illnesses.
- Eating disorders are a choice.
- Eating disorders are not a big deal.
- Eating disorders are cured as soon as eating is normalized or weight is restored.
- If treatment doesn’t “work” the first time, there’s no hope for recovery.
- If I had an eating disorder, my kid will have one, too.
- All exercise is healthy.
- Hospitalization is the only way to successfully treat an eating disorder.
In this Retro Report installment, Dr. Attia acknowledges that there is still a great deal of misunderstanding – and a lack of information – about these illnesses. What is NOT a myth, is that eating disorders remain the leading cause of mortality from psychiatric illness. Specifically, anorexia nervosa is associated with the highest mortality rate and many suicides. Yet funding for research and treatment into these disorders trails behind those of other mental illnesses.
We encourage you and your friends and loved ones with any concerns to know the facts, learn more, and ask for help and guidance from trusted sources.