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Can You Tell Fact From Fiction On Eating Disorders?

Here's 5 myths about eating disorders:
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1. People with eating disorders are underweight
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TRUTH: You can be any shape or size and be affected by an eating disorder. In fact many of people affected by an eating disorders are of average weight or over weight.

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2. Only teenage girls suffer with eating disorders
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TRUTH: Both boys and girls of all ages can be affected by an eating disorder. Recent studies have found that 11% of people who are diagnosed with eating disorders are male.

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3. Eating disorders are a cry for attention or just a phase
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TRUTH: Often people affected by an eating disorder go to great lengths to hide behaviours and may feel a great deal of shame. It is also common that people affected by the eating disorder will not realise that there is anything wrong. An eating disorder is NOT a phase. An eating disorder is like a self-critical bully which tortures the person who is affected. The consequences of an eating disorder can be life threatening and people affected need treatment and support.

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4. Eating disorders aren’t a serious problem, it’s just about vanity.
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TRUTH: Eating disorders are a really serious mental illnesses and can be life threatening. The physical and emotional effects of an eating disorder can be long lasting and exhausting. People affected by an eating disorder experience severe distortions in their thoughts and emotions and this can lead to significant emotional distress.

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5. You can just ‘snap out’ of it
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TRUTH: Having an eating disorder is not a lifestyle ‘choice’ and recovering doesn’t necessarily mean eating healthily. Eating disorders affect people psychologically, emotionally, physically and socially. In order to overcome an eating disorder, a person needs the right type of support from those closest to them, and treatment from experienced professionals.

how to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.

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Find help in your local area

Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.