What's the first thing that pops into your head when you think about eating disorders? Or see someone who's clearly struggling with anorexia or bulimia?
A. "What a selfish brat--why doesn't she get a life?"
B. "What a dreadful illness this is--I know how much she's suffering"?
The answer most likely depends on what you know--or think you know--about eating disorders.
If you think they're emotional responses to trauma or lifestyle choices, you probably answered A. If think they're physiological diseases that are no fault of the patient and can't be chosen (or unchosen), you probably chose B. And you'd be correct.
As Cynthia Bulik, professor of eating disorders and psychiatry at University of North Carolina, put it, "“There is a lot of false information about anorexia nervosa disseminated in pop culture. This study suggests that even a nugget of accurate biological information can influence how health care professionals perceive the illness."
And not just doctors and nurses but real people, too, according to the experiment Bulik is commenting on. Attitudinal change comes hard, but it does happen. Read and rejoice.