Now that the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is over, I'm starting to mull over all of the news coverage on eating disorders this week. Most of it was kind of disappointing. It tended, by and large, to perpetuate the myths about eating disorders. Among them:
- That you need to resolve underlying issues before you can recover. (Although, to be honest, this article did highlight the need for more ED/chemical dependency treatment programs)
- That all people with eating disorders are obsessed with body image. This is as much a side effect of starvation as it is a cause of eating disorders. Then again, our whole society is obsessed with body image, so go figure. My issue is that articles like this make people with EDs sound like a bunch of vain nitwits with nothing better to do than obsess about how they look.
- That glamorous celebrities are the cause of eating disorders in older women. I can't claim it for all women, but most have had some sort of disordered eating prior to the onset of a full-blown ED later in life. Some times, an eating disorder in youth was never properly treated. But that doesn't matter- no amount of Desperate Housewives reruns will give you an eating disorder.
- That anorexia sufferers don't eat- they just live on 15 cups of coffee a day. People with anorexia do eat; it's the amount and types of food that are strictly, rigidly, and obsessively regulated. Second of all, you're not living on 15 cups of coffee per day. You're dying on 15 cups of coffee per day.