Eating Disorders are About Emotional Pain- Not Food

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In her documentary “Miss Americana,” music icon Taylor Swift disclosed her history of eating disorders. Her revelation underscores the fact these disorders do not discriminate. According to the advocacy and awareness organization, Eating Disorders Coalition, they strike all genders, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Despite their prevalence – the problem is worldwide – myths about eating disorders abound. Such as that they are a choice. They are not. Or they’re not a big deal. They are. Or that a person with an eating disorder is always severely underweight. Not always.

With Feb. 24 marking the beginning of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, there’s one thing you need to remember if you know someone with an eating disorder. They are experiencing significant emotional pain; the eating disorder is an attempt to communicate that pain. If food or exercise appears to be running the life of a family member, friend or colleague, you can help by focusing on them and their lived experience – and not exclusively on the food.

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