How The Myths Surrounding Anorexia Affect Diagnosis And Treatment

Understanding Anorexia Nervosa can be complicated, especially with all of the conflicting information about the disorder. Learn the truth about these common myths surrounding anorexia.

Myth: People Become Anorexic to Get Attention

Many people believe that anorexia is all about vanity, and that people become this way to gain compliments and attention. While some teens may skip a meal or two to make a statement, true sufferers of this disease are not after compliments or attention.
For many, anorexia is not about vanity–it’s about having control of their own body. Often, anorexics will focus on their weight or their appearance as a means of coping with other emotionally painful issues they may be experiencing in their lives. In controlling this one aspect of their lives, it helps them to feel secure about areas where they may not have so much control.

Myth: Anorexic People Don’t Get Hungry or Like Food

While they may be better at ignoring them, anorexic people experience hunger pangs just like everyone else. Mastering hunger often becomes an addiction for anorexic people, who feel the high of exerting proper control.
People who are anorexic do like food. Many enjoy the experience of eating as much as they enjoy mastering their hunger, because it’s the reward for their efforts. People who suffer from anorexia will often be meticulous in the food they eat and how it’s prepared. They might purchase, prepare and eat the food following very strict procedures and rules they’ve set for themselves.

Myth: Anorexia is Safe if You Exercise and Take Multivitamins

One of the most alarming anorexia myths is that the disease isn’t fatal as long as you’re sure to take in the proper nutrients and exercise to keep your body strong. Multivitamins are a great way to ensure your body gets the nutrition it needs, but they aren’t a substitute for food. The body needs the calories derived from food, as well as fats, oils and protein to function properly.
This is especially true if you exercise frequently. Exercise burns calories. If new calories aren’t consumed, the calories are taken from fat reserves on the body. When the fat reserves are gone, the only thing left to burn is muscle and organ tissue, which can lead to serious health complications, including death.

Myth: People Choose to Become Anorexic

No one chooses to have a disease. Anorexia is a real psychiatric disorder that isn’t only undesirable, but dangerous, too. Keep this in mind when helping a