This is National Eating Disorders Awareness week Feb. 26 through March 3. The theme for NEDAwareness Week is “Everybody Knows Somebody.”
NEDA states: “Nearly 10 million females and 1 million males in the U.S. are battling eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, while millions more suffer from binge eating disorder. The peak onset of eating disorders occurs during puberty and the late teen/early adult years, but symptoms can occur as young as kindergarten. More than one in three normal dieters progress to pathological dieting.”
The mission of NEDAwareness Week is “to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses — not choices — and it's important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.”
If you are concerned you or someone you know has an eating disorder below is a list symptoms.
- Anorexia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.
- Bulimia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of binging and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting or excessive exercising designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.
- Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder not otherwise specified and is characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.
It can be difficult to bring up the subject of eating disorders with someone. If you are concerned that a person you know has an eating disorder, here are some suggestions to discuss your concerns:
- Set a time to talk. Meet with the person in private and share your concerns in a supportive manner.
- Communicate your concerns. It is helpful to share specific concerns about the persons’ eating or exercise behavior. Ask the person to discuss these concerns with a counselor, doctor, nutritionist, or other health professional who is knowledgeable about eating issues. Offer to accompany the person to the appointment.
- Avoid angry comments or power struggle with the person. If they refuse to acknowledge the problem, restate your concern and be open to talking about it with them in the future. Let them know you care about them no matter what.
- If you continue to be concerned, seek out a professional to get some support for yourself. It is tough to watch someone with an eating disorder. A professional might have a suggestion about other ways to approach the topic.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder take the time to address it now. There is help for those who are suffering. NEDAwareness Week is a great time to get information and to tackle this subject.
Kim McLaughlin, LMFT is a licensed therapist (MFC27667) providing counseling services in the Roseville area. This blog is not meant to be a substitute for mental health treatment, counseling, or therapy. If you are in need of mental health services seek out a licensed therapist at www.counselingcalifornia.com or contact Kim McLaughlin, LMFT for assistance. You can see more about Kim and the services she offers on her website www.feedyoursoultherapy.com. Sign up for a Free Report called "Strategies to End Binge Eating" here.