In this video, three men share their stories of eating disorder recovery along with with male eating disorder expert, Dr. Nicholas Farrell. The National Association of Eating Disorders (NEDA) says, “Despite the stereotype that eating disorders only occur in women, about one in three people struggling with an eating disorder is male… But due in large part to cultural bias, they are much less likely to seek treatment for their eating disorder. Several factors lead to men and boys being under- and undiagnosed for an eating disorder,” one of which is double stigma “for having a disorder characterized as feminine or gay and for seeking psychological help.” Click “Read More” for more from the National Association of Eating Disorders.
Quotes pulled from the National Eating Disorders Association article “Nine Truths About Eating Disorders.”
“When it comes to eating disorders, or any mental illness, the struggle is primarily internal. Eating disorders can cause weight gain, weight loss or they can have no effect on weight at all. And all these eating disorder diagnoses are valid; one does not have to “look sick” to be struggling.”
“Unlike alcohol and drugs, where many people strive for total abstinence, individuals “addicted” to food cannot completely abstain from eating. They need to use food (their “drug of choice”) without over- or under-eating. But recovery is possible.”
“The truth about eating disorders is more complex, more fascinating, and far more serious than most people realize. But those who have recovered realize it. Recovery gives us a golden opportunity to tell this truth, to voice our stories, and to break the stigma that surrounds one of the most disabling illnesses of our times.”
Gina Dimitropoulos’s paper for Canada’s National Eating Disorder Information Centre highlights some great information on the distorted perceptions held in public and professional spheres, the consequences that these negative attitudes can have for individuals experiencing eating disorders, and tips for challenging internalized stigma and stigma in the public, professional, and family roles.
“There are many myths about the causes of eating disorders, how serious they are, and who develops an eating disorder.” This list from the National Eating Disorder Association outlines some of the most common questions and distorted perceptions around eating disorders and the facts to set them straight.
A teacher in recovery from her own eating disorder is concerned about how much she can reach out to students. “When I am genuinely worried I follow protocol and inform pastoral staff within the school. But I also want to tell them that I know what it’s like and that you can come out the other side. The problem is I don’t know how much I can say.”
“I ended up having to finish my grade 11 and grade 12 year in the hospital … a lot of people tell me to just pick up the food and eat it, but that’s not how it works [with anorexia]. I’ve lost too many friends because of all this. Running away from me wasn’t the answer … slowly integrating back into the real world is what got me better.”