The portrayal of mental health issues is often distorted in the media and wider society. Misconceptions about who is affected and why are not only hurtful to those who have an eating disorder, but also dangerous to those who might not realise they have a form of an eating disorder because they don’t fit the stereotype. We have collated common myths and questions and eating disorders. If you have more questions about these, please get in touch. If you want us to add a specific question or myths, let us know.

Eating disorders are serious and potentially life threatening mental health disorder. A person with an eating disorder experiences severe disturbances in their behaviour around eating and exercise. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders.

Most people with an eating disorder go to great lengths to hide, disguise or deny their behaviour, or many don’t recognise that there is anything wrong. People take an average of 7 years to recover from an eating disorder with many people taking years before they go for treatment.

The majority of people with an eating disorder (about 80%) are not underweight.

The peak period for the onset of eating disorders is 12-25 years, median age around 18 years. One high risk group is women, particularly those going through key transitions. However – eating disorders can occur to anyone, across all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, and all ages. Studies suggest around a quarter of people with eating disorders are male.

I have remarked that patients should be fed at regular intervals and surrounded by persons who would have moral control over them; relatives and friends being generally the worst attendants” Gull (1874)

There is no evidence that particular parenting styles cause eating disorders.  Family and friends play a crucial role in the care, support and recovery of people with eating disorders.

Yes, they do. Anyone can develop an eating disorder, regardless of age, sex, cultural or racial background. Even though the people most affected tend to be young women, particularly between the ages of 15 and 25, around 10% of people with eating disorders are men. Our support groups are for all genders – please do not hesitate to seek help on the basis of your gender.

Seed Eating Disorders has compiled a leaflet specifically for men who struggle with an eating disorder.

Absolutely. There are a variety of therapy approaches to help you recover and beat your eating disorder. Even though recovery might be a tough and long process, it is possible. Every person and their needs might be different and therapy approaches might therefore differ as well.

To some, recovery means that they never have an eating disorder thought again; it is fully in the past. For others, the thoughts might still be there occasionally but they have learned to cope much better and handle these thoughts in a balanced way that no longer impacts their life.