The week of February 25th to March 3rd is a nationwide opportunity to increase the awareness of a worldwide struggle: Eating Disorders. It’s estimated that over 30 million Americans of all ages and gender suffer from a disorder. Chances are, several people you know are either grappling with a one right now or have dealt with one in the past. The primary reason for this week is to understand eating disorders and to help prevent and overcome them. By learning about the early signs that a friend or loved one is suffering from a disorder, you can help them immensely by getting them the support they need. The National Eating Disorders Association, especially, emphasizes this weeks significance.
National Eating Disorders Association
Beyond raising awareness, the NEDA has stressed the importance of inclusion and unity when handling an eating disorder. Their theme this year is, “Come As You Are,” which means that, no matter what stage you’re in with recovery or with the disorder itself, no matter your gender, age, or status, the NEDA wants you to share your story and let people be inspired by your words. They present several ways in which you can share your experience, mainly through social media. If you or someone you know decides to post or tell of their story, make sure to use the hashtag, #NEDAAwareness, to let the association know. Click here to visit their website and learn more about this year ‘s theme.
The NEDA also has many ways you can help raise awareness, including an educational kit, and by promoting body acceptance through the Body Project, or even by simply walking. To learn more and to participate in any of these, click here to visit their webpage.
The association also writes about eating disorders and the signs and symptoms of them as well. Eating Disorders are mental and physical conditions, and can vary in intensity and type. Here are the different kinds of disorders:
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Bulimia Nervosa
- Binge – Eating Disorder
- Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED)
- Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
- Rumination Disorder
- Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED)
- Laxative Abuse
- Compulsive Exercise
All of these disorders listed are very serious conditions and need to be addressed as soon as they are noticed.
If you observe any strange behavior regarding weight, diet, or exercise from someone you know, don’t hesitate to do something. Ask that person if they are okay, inquire about their habits and if they believe something is going on. Sometimes the person isn’t even aware that they are suffering from a disorder, in fact, they may believe that they’re being healthy and treating their bodies correctly. If they don’t open up or even consider that they may have a disorder, contact the NEDA helpline at (800)- 931-2237. They will be able to answer any questions you may have and give you or anyone you know the help they need.
This week is very important to stopping eating disorders and helping those experiencing them, so make sure to spread awareness and to look out for any signs someone may be suffering today. Together, we can help prevent this nationwide struggle.
National Eating Disorders Association. (2018). Get Involved. Retrieved from: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-involved.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. (2019). Eating Disorder Statistics. Retrieved from: https://anad.org/education-and-awareness/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/.