There are many myths about the causes eating disorders, how serious they are, and who develops an eating disorder. The list below includes some of the most common questions we get about eating disorders:
Are eating disorders a choice?
Eating disorders are not a choice. They are complex medical and psychiatric illnesses that patients don’t choose. They are bio-psycho-social diseases, which means that genetic, biological, environmental, and social elements all play a role. Several decades of genetic research show that biological factors are an important influence in who develops an eating disorder. A societal factor (like the media-driven thin body ideal) is an example of an environmental trigger that has been linked to increased risk of developing an eating disorder. Environmental factors also include physical illnesses, childhood teasing and bullying, and other life stressors. Eating disorders commonly co-occur with other mental health conditions like major depression, anxiety, social phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Additionally, they may run in families, as there are biological predispositions that make individuals vulnerable to developing an eating disorder. [Read more…]