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Why are people more willing to help you recover from self harm than an eating disorder?

8 Answers
Last Updated: 02/05/2018 at 5:05pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Brenda King, PsyD


I treat life changes, women’s issues, and issues of aging using evidence-based treatments with healthy doses of warmth, empathy and humor to enhance healing and growth.

Top Rated Answers
May 10th, 2015 5:52pm
Both self-harm and eating disorders are very serious mental illnesses and many people just fail to understand that. Sadly, many people just view eating disorders as a "diet choice" and believe that it is something that the victim chooses to have. As they think this they also think that a person with Anorexia Nervosa can just choose to eat whenever they want to "get better." I think that it is easier for people to understand self-harm as it is something that 1 in 12 people suffer from, it is also a lot more easier to identify. This is due to the scars and marks that it leaves behind. I believe that as people are so uneducated about eating disorders, they are less willing to offer help, which is something that needs to be changed.
March 13th, 2015 8:16pm
It's because most of the people feel or think that an eating disorder isn't as important, they feel like they picked to be overweight, or under by choice(not eating or eating too much) Which is a stupid thing that they don't stop to realize is false
April 19th, 2015 1:51pm
Often an eating disorder can come across as "invisible" whereas self harm can be detected by physical scars. Both are equally dangerous and need support to recover from. Often people just don't understand how to help someone with an eating disorder.
August 11th, 2015 12:09pm
because self harm seems upsetting,I don't know how to explain it but people always have more empathy with someone who is hurting himself/herself , but when it comes to eating disorder, most of us imagine super fat people like 150Kgs and it's really sad and not fancy! for example people are willing to help for a girl who is hurting herself but when they imagine a guy with eating disorders they prefer to just avoid. Also most of us have problems in controlling our eating, most of us have extra-weight and maybe it's kind of a trigger...
February 15th, 2016 11:26pm
Perhaps it's just their own values and belief systems, prejudices and stigma standing in the way? All mental illnesses are equally debilitating and everyone deserves to be able to get the same standard of care and support to help them recover. More than that.. whatever mental illness, it should be treated as equally as a physical illness. But the thing is stigma exists still , due to a lack of understanding of mental illness in general .. and that's why others might not be able to empathize and understand what you're going through.
February 22nd, 2016 6:49pm
sometimes because they care about you, and they want to see you get better. other times, when it's strangers, it's because they know what you're going through, they do care about you in a different way. they just want to use what they've been through to help someone else. it's turning a bad experience into a good thing.
April 4th, 2017 2:59am
Unfortunately, I think some people want "proof" of an issue. Self harm is visible, and ED's are not always. This goes back to the stigma of mental illness in general.
February 5th, 2018 5:05pm
Both are forms of self harm, in a way. Its just that one is more life threatening than the other. While self harm is seen as a suicidal tendency, an eating disorder is viewed as an obsessive behavior. This has much to do with how people assess threat.