Seeking treatment can be challenging, whether you have an addiction or a mental illness. Identifying the right time to seek treatment, along with recognizing the symptoms and overcoming the fear of stigma within healthcare can all be enough to stop someone from seeking help. By avoiding treatment, we are placing ourselves at risk for worsening our symptoms and never developing the tools that we need to overcome and manage them. One population that’s experiencing trouble with seeking help are Asian Americans, regarding eating disorders specifically.
A preliminary analysis conducted by researchers at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), involved an online survey of Asian Americans from late 2014 to early 2015 about eating disorders and other body image concerns. The study involved analyses of 212 participants, with approximately 77% of whom were female and an average age of 25. The study’s findings showed that:
- There was a belief that symptoms were not “severe enough” to seek help
- There was denial regarding having a problem
- Many did not know where to seek help
- Respondents noted the stigma surrounding seeking help and having an eating disorder
According to the American Psychological Association, Asian Americans are three times less likely to seek treatment than white Americans. The study brought up some important phrases from participants, including, “my mom thought I looked nicer when I ate less” and “it was embarrassing to tell others that I had felt terrible about my body and the way I looked”. Although more research surrounding this topic is being conducted, it presents an important concern for a U.S. population that may need additional support regarding seeking treatment.
By recognizing this need, we can take additional steps to reduce stigma within the healthcare system and to educate our communities on the options they have and the benefits of seeking help. If you or someone you know has an eating disorder or other mental illness, please urge them to seek treatment. There are many people out here ready to help you overcome your obstacles. You are not alone.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment center. Our licensed, experienced health care team truly cares about your recovery and will work with you to develop tools to overcome your challenges and better manage your symptoms. Make the decision to seek help today, and call us at 888-958-7511 for a consultation.