I feel like people have a lot of misconceptions concerning anorexia nervosa and similar eating disorders. Treating anorexia is not just about helping patients gain weight; it is about giving them appropriate psychiatric care. Self esteem is not easy to build up if you think you're ugly. I know because I struggled with this for almost my entire life. It's also hard to feel like you have some sense of control in uncontrollable situations. There are so many mental problems that come with anorexia and the like, and people need to appreciate these complexities.
People also think about anorexia as a "girl's disease", and certainly in most instances it is. However, what are we doing to help men who suffer from anorexia? In reality, the occurrence of male anorexia is a lot higher than most people would ever think, and these boys/men have an even more difficult time recovering from this disease because of the stereotypes and stigmas associated with the disease and with gender. Here is a link to an article and video regarding the occurrence of male anorexia: http://dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/22/10477185-boys-dying-to-be-thin-the-new-face-of-anorexia.
Finally, people also don't understand how truly difficult it is for recovering anorexics to gain weight. Even after patients are getting a handle on their psychological problems, putting on a single pound is a giant challenge in a physiologic sense. I think the following video does an amazing job showing just how long the path to recovery is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS2mfWDryPE.