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Common Eating Disorder Myths

Myth #1: You have to be underweight to have an eating disorder. People with eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Many individuals with eating disorders are of average weight or are overweight.

Myth #2: Only teenage girls and young women are affected by eating disorders. While eating disorders are most common in young women in their teens and early twenties, they are found in men and women of all ages.

Myth #3: People with eating disorders are vain. It's not vanity that drives people with eating disorders to follow extreme diets and obsess over their bodies, but rather an attempt to deal with feelings of shame, anxiety, and powerlessness.

Myth #4: Eating disorders aren't really that dangerous. All eating disorders can lead to irreversible and even life-threatening health problems, such as heart disease, bone loss, stunted growth, infertility, and kidney damage.

Additional Resources for Friends and Family

What can you do if you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, body image issues, depression, and low self-esteem?

One of the first things to do is to take care of yourself either by finding a good therapist or a local support group. You can read the book, "Surviving an Eating Disorder: Strategies for Families and Friends" by Michele Siegel, PhD, Judith Brisman, PhD, and Margot Weinshel, MSW. This is an excellent book and will be a tremendous support in helping you learn appropriate ways of dealing with your loved one.

Another excellent book is "Overcoming Binge Eating" by Dr. Christopher Fairburn. This book is excellent for anyone struggling with weight issues and binge eating.

For referrals, you can visit (including referrals for free treatment offered by certain facilities that have received government grant money). You can also find referrals at