Daily News (Ball State U.)

(U-WIRE) MUNCIE, Ind.-Many parents try to pass off their child’s eating disorder as “just another phase,” said Liz Cassidy, a doctoral intern at the Ball State University Counseling Center.

“You also see this with depression where people will say, ‘Oh this is just teenage angst or something like that,'” Cassidy said to students at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Pineshelf Room.

Friends and family misunderstand the situation and think the person with the eating disorder is showing the symptoms to get more attention, Cassidy said. This is based on the false idea that the sufferer can control the disorder.

Kim Gorman, a psychologist at the Counseling Center, said eating disorders are especially serious illnesses because they are the only psychological conditions that can lead directly to death. Gorman said 10 percent of people with an eating disorder die as a result of the sickness.

Gorman said people can also die as a result of severe depression because it can lead them to suicide, but the fatal link between the two is psychological and not physical.

Gorman said people suffering from anorexia or bulimia often come from distinctly different backgrounds.

“People with anorexia tend to have families where conflict and disagreement are not expressed,” she said. They are often perfectionists who live by a strict set of regimens.

People with bulimia are often compulsive and come from families where conflict is overly expressed, she said.

Ball State junior Landon Buesching said ignorance often fuels eating disorders.

“A lot of people are not knowledgeable about what’s out there,” Buesching said. “They don’t have the right information, especially about dieting.”