Eating Disorders Awareness Week

BlogHer Original Post

There is a lot of stigma and misinformation surrounding eating disorders. The biggest misconception about eating disorders is that it's somehow the patient's fault but that couldn't be further from the truth. Since this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I thought I would dedicating this post to providing as much information and facts about this disease as possible.

From NEDAwareness Week:

Mission: Our aim 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.

This year, NEDA asked everyone to do just one thing to help raise awareness and provide accurate information about eating disorders.

This is from Manolo for the Big Girl -- Myths and Facts About Eating Disorders:

So how do we turn the mass of misinformation around? We educate ourselves. We learn what the latest research has to say and listen to the voices of recovery. We keep our ears, eyes, minds, and hearts open. And once we have educated ourselves, we talk.

Facts and Statistics about Eating Disorders

From Eating Disorder Statistics -- Mortality Rates:

  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
  • A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover.
  • The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.

From FamilyDoctor.org -- Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder:

  • Unnatural concern about body weight (even if the person is not overweight)
  • Obsession with calories, fat grams and food
  • Use of any medicines to keep from gaining weight (diet pills, laxatives, water pills)

More serious warning signs may be harder to notice because people who have an eating disorder try to keep it secret. Watch for these signs:

  • Throwing up after meals
  • Refusing to eat or lying about how much was eaten
  • Fainting
  • Overexercising
  • Not having periods
  • Increased anxiety about weight
  • Calluses or scars on the knuckle (from forced throwing up)
  • Denying that there is anything wrong

From Psych Central -- Eating Disorder Recovery (an in-depth Q&A):

In honor of NEDA Week, I wanted to talk about the common obstacles on the road to eating disorder recovery and how individuals can overcome these obstacles.

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, know that you can absolutely recover. It’s normal to experience setbacks and challenges. Everyone does.

Here is a very informative video about the facts of eating disorders, with Lynn Grefe, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association:

This is a video with Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross, she shares the difference between binge eating disorder and compulsive overeating:

This video addresses how the media (even Facebook and social media) are contributing to the problem of eating disorders:

How do you feel about Eating Disorder Awareness Week? Is a week long enough? Has an eating disorder affected you or someone you know? How big of an impact do you think the media (and social media) plays in eating disorders? Let us know your thoughts in comments.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
Also at Catherine-Morgan.com


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