In fact, 78 percent of people believe they have enough information to know if someone were suffering from an eating disorder, according to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Eating Disorders Association.
Better identification of symptoms reflects a heightened awareness about the types of conditions, said Mysko. The survey also found that a majority now view eating disorders as a physical or mental condition, rather than just a lifestyle choice.
Still, as many as 11 million Americans have an eating disorder, 4 percent of whom die each year from the disease, according to the National Eating Disorder Association. Although the stigma has waned over the last decade, the number of people who have an eating disorder, and the number of people who die each year from the disorder remain consistent.
"We are actually seeing more complex cases," said Bermudez. These cases require more comprehensive treatment programs that should be approached with the same seriousness as patients who suffer from any other physically and mentally debilitating disease, he said.
But effective treatment means more than therapy and medical care, Mysko said. Removing societal pressures by limiting easy access to those promoting eating disorders can be a crucial part of treatment, she said.
"It's an illness that has physical symptoms, but it's also a complex psychological disorder," said Mysko.