Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog

The Hidden Demographics Affected By Eating Disorders

Misconceptions about eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia or EDNOS can often prevent people who don’t see themselves as fitting the “mold” from really understanding what is troubling them and then seeking treatment. These stereotypes might make people believe that ED’s tend to effect only white, upper- class, straight, young women, and that if you fall outside parameters set by a certain definition, and that these concerns do not apply to them. To believe only one demographic is the only group of people who struggle with eating disorders is dangerous. Research has shown 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male, and increasing percentages of diverse ethnic and sociocultural groups, as well as affecting individuals over 50 and those as young as 5 years old. Women, men, black, white, Latino, adults, children, those with varying sexual orientations—in fact, people from any demographic--can be effected by disordered eating. Those who believe they are immune or who only believe anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are the only forms of disordered eating are especially susceptible. Most people who struggle with disordered eating will fall into the category of EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), meaning they don’t fit an exact mold or definition of what an ED looks like, but are still struggling to overcome a problem with eating and body image issues. Each varying demographic and individual will have unique challenges in overcoming the effects of eating disorders. One of the main hurdles is overcoming the stigma and generalizing or stereotyping which can prevent someone from asking for help. The tendency to not talk about it can push the opportunity for recovery even further out of reach. If you have struggled with body image and have noticed troubling patterns of behavior around eating, don’t hesitate to talk to a healthcare professional and seek eating disorder treatment. Keep the conversation going by commenting here, and then sharing your personal affirmations on Instagram using hashtag #WhatIsRecovery. Your affirmation may be what someone else is seeking as a guide in their own recovery!