Uncovering the Shame of Eating-Related Disorders

A disability is defined as a “physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses or activities.” Disability types are endless and may be “physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.”

Mobility-related disabilities often cause people to require the use of wheel5783321374 7f6b3e2b4d m Uncovering the Shame of Eating Related Disorderschairs. Hearing-related disabilities typically cause people to require the use of hearing aids. While these two types of disabilities are commonly recognized and accepted as disabilities, other disabilities are not.

How often are food/eating-related disorders regarded as disabilities? While eating disorders and the disorders they cause may not always be viewed as “traditional” disabilities, they are disabilities nonetheless.

In this week’s postings, we will take an inside look at disabilities that tend to be hidden, namely eating disorders, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), and other mental disorders related to eating and body image.

The time has come for the world to see food-related disorders as real disabilities deserving of legitimate treatment and human compassion.

Too many individuals suffer in silence with disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and BDD. Some may have even relegated themselves to a life of inner pain and turmoil, devoid of any hope. Why is this?

Because eating and body image-related disabilities are flippantly regarded as taboo or are written off as being “all in one’s head.” With propaganda such as this, who would want to reveal his or her struggle with such disorders?

What can we do to help? Some would agree that getting educated may be the best arsenal against the war of eating-related and body image-associated disabilities. This week, we will provide the resources necessary to become educated about the aforementioned disabilities.

What is the main factor that contributes to keeping these disabilities hidden? Shame. Shame is the ugly monster that whispers, “You are not good enough. There is something wrong with you. If they knew you were this messed up, they would reject you. You are hopeless.”

Our goal this week is a little lofty – we hope to smash the shame monster by exposing it.

How will we accomplish this? By providing “anti-taboo” education about eating/body-image-related disabilities.

In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Fear always springs from ignorance.” Let’s put fear to rest this next few days as we get educated about eating disorders and other similar mental disorders.

Shame, fear, and hopelessness live in the dark where secrets are kept; freedom lives in the light where truth resides. Step into this truth with disability living this week as we reach out together into a future of freedom – a future of unabashed discussion of eating-related disorders.




Image made available by Sean MacEntee on Flickr by Creative Commons License.

Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources.  Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority.  Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for NBC and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.

Let’s Talk About It

In your opinion, why is there such shame associated with eating-related disorders?

Why do the individuals suffering with such disorders sometimes strive to keep them hidden?

Do you think “getting things out in the open” via education is a good remedy for the shame? Why or why not?


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