It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2022, (or NEDA) and it’s time to discuss various eating disorders and the scientifically-backed treatment for eating disorders. While eating disorders and the complications they cause are always important to identify, discuss, and treat the diseases, February 21-27 is set aside specifically for awareness.
This week shows us just how important it is to look at mental and physical health. It shows us just how important it is sometimes to be our brother’s keeper. It’s time to show support, offer hope, and increase the visibility of these diseases, especially when eating disorders can so easily lead to an early, and entirely preventable, death.
What Are the Various Types of Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are complex. The people who suffer from them don’t have black and white symptoms that can directly lead to a diagnosis. One person can have symptoms of binge-eating, anorexia, and bulimia at the same time. Do you know anyone who may need help with an eating disorder?
Their disordered behaviors can contain symptoms from various eating disorders at the same time, so each person must be treated as an individual, with treatments based around their symptoms, not just a single diagnosis. They may suffer from a single disease or a mixture of one of these serious disorders:
Anorexia nervosa is about power and self-control. A person with anorexia reaches a dangerously low body weight through extremely restrictive eating. They can use detrimental practices, such as total food/drink deprivation, to control the shape of their bodies. People with anorexia are very scared of gaining weight, and they equate their weight to their worth as a person.
Bulimia nervosa is when a person binges on extreme amounts of food, sometimes uncontrollably, and then purges the food from their stomach through vomiting or excessive use of laxatives. This is all usually done in secret because the person can feel a sense of shame. This is also a form of power to control weight and body shape.
Compulsive Overeating is common, and it involves binge-eating, eating when you aren’t hungry, and eating so quickly that it causes pain. This causes people to be ashamed of their eating practices and their weight. Thoughts of eating can haunt them, and they can feel depressed and out of control. They may try out a lot of fad diets and their weight may go up and down in large amounts.
While we see many movies and television shows that discuss women and their eating disorders, we can forget about the specific needs of the children, men, and elderly who can suffer from these diseases as well. Advocacy and visibility are the entire purpose of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. We need to see the change to be the change.
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week
NEDA wants to clear up any misconceptions about eating disorders this week and emphasize the real-life consequences that can come from ignoring the symptoms. NEDA has raised over $2 million for research grants to help almost 800,000 people since 2017. The NEDA helpline has received an increased number of calls during the COVID crisis, by 107% to be precise.
Our friends and loved ones who suffer from an eating disorder may find that quality help is hard to find. Thus, leaving people feeling hopeless and scared. NEDA ensures that there are safe spaces, both online and in-person, to help communities become healthier. NEDA wants awareness of the power that people have within and the ability to change themselves is within their grasp.
Becoming a collaborator, volunteering your time, or planning a NEDA event are all great ways to spread the word about the importance of this week, and of understanding the dangers associated with eating disorders in general. It is also a great time to help someone you suspect of having an eating disorder and change their life.
Learn More About National Eating Disorder Awareness Week
Fairwinds Treatment Center employs effective strategies to help those who suffer with eating disorders, mental health conditions, and substance abuse problems. Schedule a consultation and begin planning your personalized treatment program with a licensed professional.
Treating an eating disorder takes a patient, compassionate, and supportive village. Celebrate NEDA with us and, perhaps, save a life.