Eating Disorder Awareness Week: Why better understanding is needed to help recovery

Henrietta Strickland
March 2, 2018

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, up to 30 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. "It affected not only her, but it also affected her family".

Meanwhile, DuBois is doing what she can to raise support for people fighting for their lives, both through the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and the NEDA walk coming up in a couple months. "They could have helped connect me to resources so that I wouldn't struggle for 12 years with an eating disorder".

Many people associate eating disorders with severely controlling and reducing caloric intake, but in reality, this is just one presentation of a diverse set of disorders. Eating disorders do not discriminate: they can happen to anyone.

Popular television shows like "Full House" and "Degrassi" portray characters who battle eating disorders for short periods of time, usually over the course of an episode or two. Suicide is the most common cause of death among people with eating disorders, and about 25 percent of people with eating disorders engage in self-harm.

Experts say acting on any concerns you may have for a loved one can make the biggest difference.

Since there's such an intense focus on food or body image, many people living with the condition will withdraw from situations ― likely ones that once brought them joy ― where that mindset might be tested.

Recognising the signs and symptoms of an ED may be enough to lead to successfully seeking help, potentially preventing a lifetime of affliction from the condition. Roughly 60 percent of adults with eating disorders are diagnosed with "eating disorder not otherwise specified".

There are other outward physical effects of eating disorders aside from weight changes.

FACT: Eating disorders are mental illnesses - so it is someone's thoughts, feelings and emotions that are involved. The insane thing is that I guarantee all of you have come into contact with someone who has an eating disorder.

She wants people to consider donating to the cause and registering for the walk, even those who think they don't have a personal connection to someone with an eating disorder.

"It is important to find a time to have a conversation away from the normal routine and outside of a meal time", said Bonnie Brennan, senior clinical director of the Eating Recovery Center in Denver.

"Eating disorders don't just fit one particular mold", DuBois said. "Approach them with love and compassion, let them know that you care about them and that you notice that there is something they may be struggling with". If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorder Association Helpline can provide support and recommend a plan for treatment.

Reasons Eating Disorder Center, located in Los Angeles, California, offers eating disorder treatment programs for adolescents and adults who suffer from Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge-Eating, ARFID, and other related forms of disordered eating.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article