This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week; this is a national campaign aimed at bringing awareness of eating disorders to communities across America. The goal of the week is to educate and learn about eating disorders, the signs of eating disorders, as well as resources to get the proper help to those suffering from this silent but dangerous disease.
This year NEDAwareness week created and promoted by the National Eating Disorders Association is taking place February 24-March 4,2020. Continuing on the success from last year’s awareness week they are asking for supporters to join the movement to Come As You Are: Hindsight is 20/20. This year’s theme to Come As You Are and the NEDA is asking for the eating disorder community supporters and those working through the disease to come together to reflect on the positive changes and steps that they have taken in the past year including setbacks, challenges, and obstacles. They are asking for the community to join the movement to reflect on their journey and work towards accepting not just of themselves but of others.
What is an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are characterized as a group of illnesses that are based on the experiences of an individual’s thoughts and emotions which lead to severe changes in eating behaviors and an individual’s relationship with food. Oftentimes, eating disorders can occur concurrently with other mental health conditions such as anxiety, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, or alcohol and drug dependency. Eating disorders can lead to severe health consequences and even death.
Different Types of Eating Disorders
There are several types of eating disorders each with different characteristics. It is estimated that in the United States, approximately 20 million women and 10 million men have dealt with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. There are a number of different eating disorders and variations but these are just a few of the most common eating disorders. Oftentimes, you may not be aware of the characteristics or signs of a particular eating disorder. However, learning about food disorders can help you identify and recognize when you or possibly a loved one may be in need of help.
Those individuals dealing with anorexia tend to have a distorted body image of themselves causing them to think they look overweight at all times. This dangerous perspective leads to individuals restricting food and calories or phases of binging and purging that can to dangerous levels that often times cannot healthily support their bodies. If left untreated Anorexia can lead to many health problems including but not limited to infertility, low bone density,
Anorexia Symptoms to Watch For:
Drastic weight change, Severely Underweight & Inability to view themselves as such
Restrictive eating habits
A fear of gaining weight and seeking to be thinner
Constant thoughts revolving around food
Bulimia is characterized by episodes where an individual will binge large quantities of food followed by the purge of those foods by any means necessary including vomiting, fasting, enemas, excessive exercise, or the taking of drugs/laxatives to clear the intestines. Although bulimia can be similar to anorexia with episodes of binging and purging; individuals suffering from bulimia often appear healthy and are not significantly underweight. Bulimia can cause many imbalances throughout the body and lead to severe dehydration and heart conditions.
Bulimia Symptoms to Watch For:
Fear of gaining weight
Binge eating episodes or evidence of such
Purging episodes or use of laxatives/diuretics
Fasting or excessive bouts of exercise
Eating disorders are a prevalent and common disease facing children, young adults, adults; and men and women alike. If you feel that you may be suffering from an eating disorder or that someone you love may show signs and symptoms of engaging in these self-destructive behaviors; please contact us to discuss our Eating Disorders Treatment program so that we can help you on the path to healing and recovery.