First Faculty Advisor
Eating Disorders; Misconceptions; Personal Story
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Today, eating disorders have become much more prevalent and have the highest mortality rate for mental illness, yet it remains a taboo subject. As someone who came close to death from the consequences of an eating disorder, it is troubling to see the misconceptions of eating disorders. The media in its quest for sales and market share misleads audiences into believing that people with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa simply desire to be “skinny”. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) states that eating disorders have historically been associated with straight, young, white females, but in reality, they affect people from all demographics and are not caused by any single factor. They arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, biological, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors. The distortion that eating disorders are solely due to body image diminishes the root cause behind an eating disorder. Misconceptions about eating disorders can lead to fewer diagnoses, treatment options, and pathways to help those who do not fit the stereotype. The public needs to be re-educated on the topic in order to understand, treat, and prevent eating disorders from occurring and/or continuing. To understand what these misconceptions are and how strongly people believe them, a survey will be distributed to 200 participants to the general public to substantiate the misconception that the majority of people consider an eating disorder to purely be about wanting a small body figure.