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NEDA: Facts on Eating Disorders

1. Having an eating disorder is not a choice

Never tell someone who has an eating disorder “just eat more”. Eating disorders, including bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorder, are mental illnesses and are difficult to cure.


2. Eating disorders are not always about weight

There are a lot of causes of eating disorders; don’t just assume it's all about weight. Other mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression can be a factor of eating disorders. Also, developing an eating disorder can be a coping mechanism if there is something else the person is struggling with.


3. Men and women both have eating disorders

Eating disorders have a tendency to be glorified sometimes, especially towards women. The stigma is that just women have eating disorders because they want to be skinny and pretty; this is a stigma that needs to be dissolved because it is completely false. The media can cause unrealistic expectations which can feed into eating disorders, but it is important to understand they are more than just this; they are serious mental illnesses that affect males and females.


4. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of any mental illness

It is also important to understand eating disorders are complicated to understand. A lot of people who have them do not believe they have a problem, think they can handle it themselves, or just do not want help. Eating disorders are a serious problem and the consequences can be devastating. It is important to know the signs, so you can recognize it in yourself or others.


5. There are many on campus resources to seek help for eating disorders

JMU has a lot of great resources for getting help for eating disorders. One resource is the HOPE team. This group helps those with eating or exercise disorders and can help students towards recovery. Another great resource is the counseling center. The counseling center has an abundance of resources including individual counseling, group counseling sessions, and different workshops.

Erin Janiga is a freshman at James Madison University.
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