It’s currently National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and we definitely want to help raise awareness about eating disorders. One of the biggest problems that I’ve noticed when it comes to eating disorders is that there are still a lot of misconceptions about them.
I debunked some myths on anorexia a few months ago, and there are a lot of myths about bulimia. Bulimia nervosa is a serious illness and affects many people. Not being afraid to talk about eating disorders is something that will hopefully lead to an increase in treatments. Warning: some of the following images may be triggering.
Myth: Bulimia Doesn't Affect Men
Studies show that one in ten males are affected by eating disorders. While many men suffer from binge eating disorder, there are a lot of males who suffer from bulimia nervosa as well.
Myth: It's A Quick Way To Lose Weight
Many who suffer from bulimia might not even lose weight. Some even gain weight because of their engagement in binge eating.
Myth: Bulimia Always Involves Vomiting
False. Not everyone suffering from bulimia vomits. Some may binge eat and then fast. Some may take laxatives or diuretics. Some may resort to excessive exercise.
Myth: Bulimia And Binge Eating Are The Same
Binge eating disorder is actually another eating disorder. Many who suffer from bulimia will binge eat and purge or perform non-purging activities to lose weight. Binge eating disorder involves the binge eating without a counter behavior. Many suffering from bulimia do not engage in binge eating and will counteract what they have eaten.
Myth: It's A Phase
Bulimia is not just a casual thing that people do. It's not something that you can grow out of, though it can be treated. Bulimia is a serious mental illness and those suffering from it can get caught in a cycle of binging and purging that is seriously life threatening. The sooner someone with bulimia can get treatment, the better.
Myth: Bulimia Is Not Life-Threatening
Eating disorders in general are life-threatening. Bulimia nervosa has a mortality rate of 3.9% and studies report that at 20% of those suffering will die without treatment.
Myth: You Can Spot Bulimia Just By Looking At Someone
Just because someone is extremely thin does not mean they are anorexic or suffer from another eating disorder. On the other hand, you can suffer from an eating disorder like bulimia and not be extremely thin. You can't look at someone and assume they do or don't have an eating disorder. Physical signs of bulimia include discoloration of the teeth, swollen cheeks or jawline and calluses on hands and knuckles.
It’s important to be informed about eating disorders so you can help yourself or a friend who may be suffering. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, you can get help. Call the National Eating Disorders Association Hotline 1-800-931-2237 to talk to someone or visit their website to chat online.
Did you think any of these myths were true? Tell us in the comments!