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National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015: “I Had No Idea…”

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nedawarenes-2015Starting February 22nd through the 28th, National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015 kicks off, playing a pivotal role in raising awareness for eating disorders.  According to the National Eating Disorders Association, a 2011 report found eating disorders affect 30 million people at some point in their life time.  In spite of this statistic, the disease is stigmatized — even by those who suffer from it.  This year’s theme for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015 is “I Had No Idea…” The statement is intended to emphasize how misunderstood eating disorders are in society today.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

With National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015 here, the stigma of eating disorders takes first stage, as conversations begin to center around the importance of discussing food, weight, and body image.  Just as with other mental and physical illnesses, there are stereotypes for eating disorders, even though there isn’t a standard appearance for what an eating disordered individual looks like.  Both men and women from any type of racial, ethnic, or economic background can have an eating disorder.  It doesn’t matter how old or young a person is, what the person’s sexual preference may be, or even how much they weigh.  Eating disorders do not discriminate.  The main qualification for an eating disorder rests in the mental obsession with food, weight, and/or body image, and when it has caused the person’s life to become unmanageable.

Behind the root of the disease

There are multiple eating disorders.  Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), which was formerly known as EDNOS, or eating disorder not otherwise specified.  It is essential to understand these are conditions which pose severe ailments to the sufferers, though the individuals may not have the capacity to realize the extent of the damage to which they are doing to their overall health.  Eating disorders are not a phase or a lifestyle choice.  Sufferers do not choose this disorder, but rather have become susceptible to the manifestation of an allergy.  Like an addict has become addicted to a substance, a person can become hooked to the cycle of their behaviors of their eating disorder tendencies.  The sooner a person can begin the process of their recovery in their eating disorder, the greater the likelihood is that they will be able to recover from such a grave state of emotional, mental, and physical turmoil.

Addressing the issue

It can be difficult to reach out to people who may be suffering from an eating disorder because it’s such a sensitive topic to discuss and the matter needs to be addressed carefully.  If someone is going to be upfront about the issue, the best suggestion would be to use “I” statements and refrain from using accusatory statements.  It’s important to ensure the conversation comes from a loving standpoint to be more concerning because any type of intervention taking an aggressive tone isn’t likely to have as positive an outcome.  According to NEDA, interventions staged early could mean less risk for worsened eating disorder behaviors.

So what is the most effective way to help a loved one who may be suffering from an eating disorder?  By showing support by being there, providing information, and knowing the facts about eating disorders; bringing the necessary support to the sufferer can help push them through as they trudge on through their recovery process.

Are you or someone you know showing signs of an eating disorder?  Don’t wait to reach out for treatment.  Seeking professional help is necessary, so it is encouraged to reach out to your physician, seek a therapist and/or psychiatrist, try meeting a nutritionist, check out local support groups and/or attend 12-step fellowship meetings as supplemental support like Eating Disorders AnonymousAnorexics and Bulimics Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous.

Eating disorders are often co-occurring diseases.  Do you have a substance use disorder causing your life to be unmanageable?  The Watershed is a leading addiction treatment facility that can help guide you back on your way as build a new future for yourself with a restored sense of hope, so call today because you are worth that freedom you have been yearning to experience.

Are you concerned and ready to take a screening? Try NEDA’s free online eating disorder screening by clicking here.




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