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myths about eating disorders

May 2, 2024

Woman enjoying her food and a view of a NYC sidewalk. Eating disorder myths need to be dispelled.

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding eating disorders that can contribute to misunderstanding, stigma, and hinder some individuals’ ability to seek out effective support and treatment. It’s important to dispel these myths in order to promote awareness and understanding.

Here are some common myths about eating disorders:

Myth #1

Eating Disorders Are Just About Food: Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that involve a combination of psychological, biological, and sociocultural factors. While food and eating behaviors are significant components, these disorders also stem from issues related to body image, self-esteem, emotions, and coping mechanisms.

Myth #2

Only Young Women Have Eating Disorders: Eating disorders can affect individuals of any age, gender, race, or background. While young women are often associated with these disorders, people of all ages and genders can struggle with them.

Myth #3

Eating Disorders Are a Choice or Lifestyle: Eating disorders are not choices. They are serious mental health conditions influenced by genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. No one chooses to have an eating disorder.

Myth #4

You Can Tell If Someone Has an Eating Disorder by Their Appearance: Eating disorders come in various forms, and individuals may have a range of body sizes. You cannot determine if someone has an eating disorder based solely on their appearance.

Myth #5

Eating Disorders Are About Vanity: Eating disorders are not solely about wanting to look a certain way. They often involve deeper emotional struggles, such as low self-esteem, perfectionism, anxiety, and trauma.

Myth #6

Recovery Is Just About Gaining Weight: Recovery from an eating disorder is a holistic process that involves addressing physical health, psychological well-being, and overall quality of life. It’s not solely about weight gain or loss.

Myth #7

Only Underweight Individuals Have Eating Disorders: While severe weight loss can be a symptom of some eating disorders, individuals with eating disorders can have a range of body weights, including those who are overweight or at a normal weight.

Myth #8

Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder Are Not as Serious as Anorexia: All eating disorders are serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. Each has its own set of physical and psychological health risks.

Myth #9

Eating Disorders Are a Phase That Individuals Will Outgrow: Eating disorders are not phases; they are medical and psychological conditions that require proper treatment. Without treatment, they can worsen over time.

Myth #10

Recovery Is Quick and Linear: Recovery from an eating disorder is a gradual and often non-linear process. It requires time, effort, and professional guidance. Relapses can occur, but they are part of the journey, not failures.

Myth #11

Only People with a Low Body Weight Need Treatment: Individuals with eating disorders, regardless of their weight, can experience severe health consequences. Early intervention and treatment are crucial to prevent further physical and psychological harm.

Myth #12

Eating Disorders Only Affect Individuals; Families Have No Role: Eating disorders can impact families and loved ones deeply. Support from family and friends is essential in the recovery process.

Dispelling these myths is crucial to fostering understanding, empathy, and appropriate support for individuals dealing with eating disorders. Education and open conversations can help break down stigma and promote a more compassionate approach to those struggling with these conditions.


At Manhattan Wellness, we understand that your relationship with food can be complicated. With all the messages and images we are bombarded with on social media, it can be difficult to navigate a positive relationship with food.  That’s why our female therapists want to support you in tackling your eating disorder with compassion and care. Let us help you create an empowering narrative that will benefit all aspects of your life. If you are interested in beginning counseling for women:

  1. Submit a Contact Form or Email Us at
  2. Learn More About Our Team and Our Areas of Expertise
  3. Prioritize Your Maternal Mental Health and Embrace the Fourth Trimester!


Our therapists understand that life in New York City is not always easy, and that other issues can come up along the way. To better support you, we offer a variety of services to cater to your individual needs. The therapy services we offer are Therapy for Self Esteem, Anxiety Treatment, and therapy for dating and relationship issues. As well as therapy for college students, support for maternal mental health, body image therapy, and so much more. Are you feel like you’re not living the life you want and need to make changes? Let’s talk about it.

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