Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Eating Disorders are Equal Opportunity Employers

One of my clients went to see a cardiologist to make sure his heart had not been affected by his eating disorder. The tech asked why he was there, and when he told her, she laughed and said that "boys don't get eating disorders." He went home and restricted.

Many people have the stereotype that eating disorders are something that young, White women get. While it may be true that many individuals who have eating disorders fit this stereotype, there are also many who do not. Boys and men get eating disorders. People of all races and ages get eating disorders. But people who don't fit the stereotype may decide not to seek treatment out of fear that they will be judged, or their suffering will be dismissed, simply because they don't fit with people's assumptions.

We need to break down these stereotypes so that everyone can get help and support. Eating disorders are equal opportunity employers (and yes, I think "employer" fits because a central feature of eating disorders is that they are demanding task masters).

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