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BULEMIA MYTH: Bulimics are underweight.

TRUTH: Bulimics are often slightly overweight, or what is considered a “normal” weight. It is even less possible to diagnose bulimia by weighing the patient than it is for anorexia.

MYTH: Bulimia and anorexia are interchangeable.

TRUTH: Bulimia and anorexia are two distinct illnesses. While they may borrow specific behaviors from one another, they manifest them- selves in totally different ways, physically and psychologically.

MYTH: Bulimia is ultimately about losing weight.

TRUTH: Bulimics might be laboring under the false idea that their con- dition will lead to weight loss, but this is also accompanied by feelings of inadequacy, guilt, shame and self-loathing. It is these emotions that ultimately fuel the disease.

MYTH: Bulimia is less dangerous than anorexia.

TRUTH: While anorexia statistically has a higher mortality rate than buli- mia, bulimia can be deadly (most of- ten bulimia-related deaths are caused by a heart attack, resulting from the strain vomiting places on the heart). There are also a myriad of serious physical and psychological symptoms, as listed in my last article.

MYTH: Bulimia is about vanity.

TRUTH: Bulimia is akin to self-harm. It develops as a coping mechanism for difficult emotions and is fuelled by low self-esteem. While a bulimic might act confident, it is simply that - an act.

MYTH: There is a certain type of person who is more likely to suffer from bulimia.

TRUTH: Bulimia affects people of all ages, races, walks of life and of both genders.

The myths stated above can prevent

individuals, families and professionals from identifying an eating disorder and, in turn, seeking appropriate treatment. I am a great believer that education and awareness are the strongest remedies for misinforma- tion. By promoting a better under- standing of eating disorders through- out the general public and the healthcare professionals, it can help support early diagnosis, effective treatment and a lifetime of recovery for the sufferers.

Lynn Crilly is a counselor that specialized in eating disorders. She is the author of the new book, Hope with Eating Disorders, A self-help guide for parents, carers and friends of sufferers. Listen to Lynn on CYACYL:

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