This year, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDA) runs from Feb. 22 through the 28, focusing on improving public understanding of eating disorders, including their causes, triggers and treatments.
This year's theme is "I had no idea" address the problem of too many people unaware of the effects of and possible treatments for this serious disease. The movement is focused on achieving early intervention, because the earlier an individual receives professional medical attention, the greater their chance for making a full recovery and going on to lead a happier, healthier life.
Here are some of the ways NEDA is helping people learn more about eating disorders.
"I had no idea…"
- That bullying can trigger disordered eating: Eating disorders can emerge partly as a way of coping with emotions that are overwhelming and unpleasant, such as those experienced by the victims of bullying.
- That eating disorders aren't just a phase: Eating disorders aren't simply a teen phase, and they won't go away on their own. An eating disorder is a disease that can be treated, but will require lifelong vigilance for full recovery to be effective.
- That eating disorders are often overlooked: Eating disorders sometimes go overlooked or misdiagnosed, even by physicians. In fact, more than two-thirds of youths struggling with an eating disorder have not received treatment.
- That eating disorders don't discriminate: Men and women of all different ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations and weights suffer from eating disorders. An eating disorder can affect anyone, and we should do our best to end damaging stereotypes that might prevent someone from accessing care.
- That my passion had become a problem: Athletes, especially ones in sports with specific weight requirements, are particularly at risk for developing an eating disorder. It's important for coaches, teammates and parents to be fully educated about this issue so children can understand the difference between effective training and an eating disorder.
- That my quest for health was making me sick: All too often, eating disorders are mistaken for simple dieting. Actually, a preoccupation with food, weight and "health" can be a serious risk to a person's physical and psychological well being.
- That the "perfect" images I see every day are digital illusions: Eating disorders aren't caused by one thing, like the media, but we do know that visual images create unrealistic body expectations for even young children still in elementary school.
If you think you are struggling with an eating disorder, contact Fairwinds Treatment Center. Fairwinds is one of the top eating disorder treatment centers in the United States, and our knowledgeable and approachable staff is ready to help you on your road to recovery.
Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded Fairwinds over 25 years ago in an effort to heal patients with his dual diagnosis method of treatment, involving therapeutic counseling in addition to clinical therapy. Dr. El-Yousef realizes that eating disorders are complicated diseases that require mental, emotional and psychological help for full recovery to be possible.
Additionally, Dr. Pauline Powers is the head of the eating disorders program at Fairwinds. She is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in the field of eating disorders, and has over 40 years of experience in research, teaching and clinical work.
Full, long-term recovery from an eating disorder is possible with appropriate, professional medical care. At Fairwinds, our goal is to strengthen society by strengthening families, and we do that by healing one patient at a time. For holistic treatment of body, mind and spirit, contact us in Clearwater, Florida, today.