Survey Shows How People With Eating Disorders Think Others See Them

Out of all mental health issues, eating disorder may be the most misunderstood. Unfortunately, the widespread misunderstandings and misconceptions cause even more pain for those who live with an eating disorder, as a recent survey by Yahoo and Silver Hill Hospital shows.

iStock_000013836596MediumThe survey asked 2,300 respondents who self-identified as having an eating disorder or disordered eating habits how they believed outsiders responded to their condition or their behaviors. Almost half of those with eating disorders said others were negative, with 39% saying others were “not very understanding” and 6 percent saying others were “critical.”

The survey showed many with eating disorders feel misunderstood, but they also feel heightened levels of shame or embarrassment because of how they believe others perceive them. According to the results, 85 percent of those with eating disorders believed others thought they were attention seeking, 74 percent said others viewed them as selfish, and 72 percent others viewed them as vain.

The heightened scrutiny wasn’t limited to how they believed others saw them. The survey respondents with eating disorders were also highly critical of themselves, with 79 percent seeing themselves as unhealthy, 75 percent feeling they were insecure, 71 percent feeling compulsive, and 70 percent seeing calling themselves “sick”.

“The disconnect between how people with eating disorders see themselves and how they feel they’re seen by others jumps out,” Psychologist and director of the eating disorder at Silver Hill Hospital, Erin Kleifield told Yahoo Beauty. “These beliefs just perpetuate the disorder, as they feel extremely invalidated. They feel a lack of hope.”

The results of the survey show that many who live with an eating disorder feel much more harshly about themselves than others typically do. The social stigmas around eating disorders and misconceptions about these disorders are what lead many people with eating disorders to not seek treatment until deep into the course of the disorder – if ever.

If you think you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, give us a call at (888) 298-4673 and we can find the right treatment plan for you.

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