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Busting eating disorder myths with Link-ED

Eating Disorders Awareness Week is an annual campaign, created to educate and inform everyone about the impact of eating disorders.

Despite increasing efforts to raise awareness of eating disorders, lack of knowledge and persisting misconceptions about them and their seriousness means that people experiencing eating disorders face high levels of stigma. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Link-ED*, who provide a specialist Adult Eating Disorder Service across West Yorkshire, to debunk some of the most common myths.

Myth: Eating disorders only affect women and girls.

Fact: All people can be affected by eating disorders, regardless of their characteristics (gender, age, sexuality, religion, race, ethnicity, socio-economic background).

Myth: You have to be underweight to have an eating disorder.

Fact: There are a variety of eating disorders that present in different ways, meaning everyone will have a different body. Some people may need to restore weight as part of their recovery, but this does not mean someone has recovered. Thoughts and behaviours also need to be addressed to make and sustain change.

Myth: Eating disorders are a cry for attention or the person is going through a phase.

Fact: Eating disorders are recognised within the DSM5 (the diagnostic manual containing all mental health conditions and their criteria). Eating disorders actually have the highest mortality rate in any psychiatric condition.

Myth: Eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. They are caused by vanity and body ideals. 

Fact: Eating disorders are not a choice; they are complex illnesses. There is an association between body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, but they are not just about people wanting to look a certain way. Eating disorders can be caused by a number of factors that are biological, psychological, and sociocultural. They require specialist treatment from services like Link-ED.

Myth: Once you have an eating disorder, you will never get better.

Fact: It is absolutely possible to make a full recovery from an eating disorder. We have peer support workers within our team who have made a full recovery from their eating disorder!

*Link-ED is a part of the West Yorkshire Adult Eating Disorders ED Network, a tiered service providing support for people with eating disorders in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield. With a person-centred approach, Link-ED works closely with Community Mental Health Teams, as well as teams in the Primary Care Network, to help and support clients living with disordered eating alongside a mental health diagnosis. Clients can receive support directly or indirectly through professionals. The service was designed to provide support to those who do not meet the criteria of existing eating disorder services to continue living in the community and receive early interventions. 

Getting help for an eating disorder

If you think you may have an eating disorder, see a GP as soon as you can. A GP will ask about your eating habits and how you’re feeling, plus check your overall health and weight. They will be able to refer you to an eating disorder specialist or team of specialists. It may make things easier if you bring a friend or loved one with you to your appointment.

You can also talk in confidence to an adviser from the eating disorders charity Beat by calling the Beat helpline on 0808 801 0677.

If you are going through a difficult time and need someone to talk to, we’re here to listen. Call Guide-Line for telephone support on 08001 884 884 or chat to us online.

Posted on: 26th February 2024

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Busting eating disorder myths with Link-ED

Busting eating disorder myths with Link-ED

Eating Disorders Awareness Week is an annual campaign, created to educate and inform everyone about […]

Posted on: 26th February 2024

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