Misconceptions About Anorexia
Even for professionals who treat it, there are plenty of misconceptions about anorexia. The eating disorder is generally regarded as a problem for females and often a dysfuntional family dynamic is blamed.
Tom Woolridge suggests a far more complicated issue at Psychology Today. While it is true that families can play an important role in the development of healthy eating habits, research is severely lacking to draw definite conclusions.
First, most of the research done on anorexia focuses on the mother-daughter relationship, which completely ignores the possibility that a young male could be the one suffering.
The role a family plays in anorexia can be drastically different, as well. For some, controlling, over-bearing parenting can lead to the disorder because the youth will be less independant and will be more likely to struggle with adolescence.
However, anorexia could also stem from parental expectations. Pressure to be in good shape or excel in sports can lead to eating disorders.
But this relationship between a parent and child is not always the culprit. Every case and every individual is different.
Families are a large and helpful part of treatment. Putting parents in an active role to restore healthy eating habits and instill confidence has had amazing results. Embracing the role of the family, regardless of the cause, can be the key in recovery.