Eating Disorder Awareness

Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 28th -March 6th)

National Eating Disorders Awareness week aims to educate about the realities of eating disorders. #SeeTheChange by recognizing change within the ever-evolving eating disorders field. #BeTheChange through advocacy, awareness, and community building.

How long did you wait before talking to someone about concerns on eating-related behavior for yourself or a loved one? Disordered eating is common, and it can be difficult to know what is considered an eating-disorder versus what is considered disordered eating.

When can behaviors such as counting calories and working out cross the line from healthy to excessive?

It is important to bring awareness to eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. Be aware of warning-signs-and-symptoms of an eating disorder. Keep in mind that warning signs vary, and you won’t likely have all these symptoms at once.

Some signs of an eating disorder may include:

  • Changes in food intake, resulting in significant/ dramatic changes in weight loss or gain
  • Purging, binging, or restricting
  • Abuse of laxatives or diet pills
  • Medical complications such as gastrointestinal issues, irregular menstruation dizziness/ fainting, dry skin/ nails, bone or muscle loss, anemia, and/ or heart problems

Many individuals present with a preoccupation with diet and exercise, fixation with food and body, and intense fears of gaining weight or getting “fat” which may be exacerbated by cultural expectations. Guilt and shame, disordered eating, and unhealthy practices take a toll on the body as well as impact mental health. Eating disorders can lead to serious medical complications, and in some cases can-be-deadly. Eating disorders have one of the highest death rates among mental health disorders. The mortality rate of anorexia is 5.9% per year!!

  • Did you know that 1,043 days (nearly 3 years!) go by before an individual experiencing eating disorder symptoms seeks help? Why wait? Now is the time to take action.

Here is a free screening tool designed for ages 13+ that can help inform if it is time to seek professional help:

Early intervention is key since the sooner one can get treatment, the faster the recovery. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, please reach out to the National Eating Disorders Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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