Over 28 million Americans will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life. That’s why National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is so important.
Bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are estimated to affect at least 2-3% of women at some point in their life. Women ages 12-25 are most susceptible to these types of eating disorders. While women are more likely to have developed an eating disorder, an estimated 10% of cases are among men.
So, what are the different types of eating disorders? And what is National Eating Disorder Week? Keep reading to learn more about this crucial topic.
What Is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week?
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is usually held in late February or early March. The week is used to raise awareness about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of eating disorders.
The week also raises awareness about people who may be at particular risk. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week was started by The Alliance For Eating Disorders Awareness, which has been in place for more than thirty years.
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week also helps to dispel stigma about eating disorders. When people feel embarrassed about struggling with an eating disorder, they’re less likely to reach out and get the help that they need. So, when more people have information about eating disorders, the stigma gets less prevalent.
National Eating Disorder Week also raises awareness about support for people struggling with eating disorders. These include helplines that you can call if you think you might have disordered eating and resources you can access online.
Warning Signs of Eating Disorders
If you are worried that a loved one may struggle with disordered eating, there are a few signs to keep an eye out for.
The warning signs of eating disorders depend on which eating disorder that person is struggling with. Different eating disorders include binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, orthorexia, pica, bulimia nervosa, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder. However, there are some symptoms that are common across many different eating disorders. Being overly concerned with weight and eating habits is one common sign.
If a person you know has experienced dramatic weight loss or weight gain that appears unhealthy, it could be the result of a physical health condition, or it may be a sign of disordered eating.
Dieting and Laxatives
Some people struggling with an eating disorder may misuse laxatives or other similar products in order to try and lose weight quickly. People struggling with bulimia may appear to take frequent trips to the bathroom, particularly after a meal. If a person appears to be exercising excessively, for hours a day, they may just be a particularly active person, but there is a chance that they could be having problems with their body image and eating habits.
Of course, there are physical signs someone might be struggling with an eating disorder, too. If someone’s weight seems to be fluctuating rapidly, it could be a warning flag.
Additionally, there can be a genetic history of eating disorders. If someone has relatives with eating disorders, they may be more susceptible to developing one themselves.
Symptoms of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can become extremely dangerous for one’s health. Taking drastic action to lose weight, restrict diet, or misuse medicine can cause many health issues.
It is important to seek prompt treatment if you or someone you love is battling an eating disorder. Some of the side effects of eating disorders can include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Hair becoming brittle or falling out
- Weak fingernails
- Loss of menstruation
- Liver problems
- Tooth decay or discoloration
- Having frequent faint spells or incidents of dizziness
These symptoms can also be a sign of other health problems, which is why it’s important to seek help if you suspect that you or your loved one is suffering from an eating disorder.
Getting Treatment for Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are not inconquerable. There are many treatments available for people struggling with eating disorders and other mental health conditions. Therapy is one important part of recovery.
There are many therapists that specialize in treating eating disorders. The right therapist can help identify the roots of an eating disorder, identify triggers, encourage positive body image, and help their client develop healthy habits and coping mechanisms.
Eating disorders tend to coexist with other mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. Individuals looking into treatment for a mental health disorder can look for therapists who specialize in disordered eating.
Group therapy is another form of treatment for people with eating disorders. Group therapy is a great place to hear other peoples’ experiences, find community, and support one another. Medications can also be beneficial, particularly if you’re also suffering from other mental health conditions that may be exacerbated by your eating disorder.
Depending on how far the eating disporder has progressed, some people may need treatment for their physical health as well. There are many eating disorder advocacy in-patient programs that can help people mentally and physically recover from eating disorders.
People with eating disorders may also require help with their nutrition as they recover. A nutritionist can be very beneficial to someone reestablishing a healthy relationship with food and eating.
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week: Awareness is the First Step
Awareness is the first step in identifying, treating, and crushing the stigma of eating disorders.
Eating disorders can take a toll on ones physical and mental health. If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, Oasis TMS can help. Contact us today.
Keywords: eating disorder, awareness, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, healthy, healthy habits, warning signs, treatment, stigma