National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

23 Feb National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Every final week of February, each year, the National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA awareness) is celebrated.

In 2022, the NEDA awareness Week revolves around the theme, “See the Change, Be the Change.”
The “SeeTheChange” theme has been chosen because the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) will spend the week acknowledging the evolution of the eating disorders field while “BeTheChange” theme is used to encourage people to engage in advocacy and raise awareness of eating disorders in their communities.

According to the research by the Mental Health America, It states that in the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or EDNOS (EDNOS is now recognized as OSFED, other specified feeding or eating disorder, per the DSM-5).

The research explains that eating disorders are real, complex medical and psychiatric illnesses that can have serious consequences for health, productivity, and relationships. They are bio-psycho-social diseases– not fads, phases, or lifestyle choices. In addition, people struggling with an eating disorder often become obsessed with food, body image, and/or weight. These disorders can be life-threatening if not recognized and treated appropriately. The earlier a person receives treatment, the greater the likelihood of full recovery.

Most individuals who notice some problems with their eating or their weight tend to visit research sites and understand what might be the problem. This might have been through their change in weight, appearance, or eating behavior thus, there is a need to that this is a common symptom of the illness and although it might be hard to confront the possibility of an eating disorder it is common to feel scared, confused, and ashamed.

Did you know that each of the eating disorders has its own specific criteria? The most common eating disorders according to an article by the very well mind include:
• Binge eating disorder (BED)—involves consuming large amounts of food in a discrete period of time and the feeling that the eating is out of one’s control.
• Bulimia nervosa—involves episodes of bingeing (out of control eating) alternating with behaviors aimed to compensate for the binges. These compensatory behaviors include fasting, over-exercising, vomiting, and using laxatives.
• Anorexia nervosa—involves restricted eating and maintenance of a lower than expected weight along with a fear of weight gain and distorted body image.

According to the National Eating Disorder article, the signs and symptoms include:
Emotional and behavioral
• Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, carbohydrates, fat grams, and dieting
• Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates, etc.)
• Appears uncomfortable eating around others
• Food rituals (e.g. eats only a particular food or food group [e.g. condiments], excessive chewing, doesn’t allow foods to touch)
• Skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals
• Withdrawal from usual friends and activities
• Extreme concern with body size and shape and mood swings
• Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws in appearance
• Extreme mood swings
• Noticeable fluctuations in weight, both up and down
• Stomach cramps, other non-specific gastrointestinal complaints (constipation, acid reflux, etc.)
• Menstrual irregularities — missing periods or only having a period while on hormonal contraceptives (this is not considered a “true” period)
• Difficulties concentrating
• Abnormal laboratory findings (anemia, low thyroid and hormone levels, low potassium, low white and red blood cell counts)
• Dizziness, especially upon standing
• Fainting/syncope
• Feeling cold all the time
• Sleep problems
• Cuts and calluses across the top of finger joints (a result of inducing vomiting)
• Dental problems, such as enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth sensitivity
• Dry skin and hair, and brittle nails
• Swelling around area of salivary glands
• Fine hair on body (lanugo)
• Cavities, or discoloration of teeth, from vomiting
• Muscle weakness
• Cold, mottled hands and feet or swelling of feet
• Impaired immune functioning

Alternatively, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) latest data explains that eating disorders are one of the most common issues experienced by people all over the world, but often the least talked about. An estimated 30 million people are currently in the throes of an eating disorder, in the United States alone. Anorexia is one of many eating disorders, affecting people of all ages, backgrounds, and genders. But with the proper knowledge of the statistics behind anorexia, early intervention, and treatment, people with anorexia can get back to leading healthy and happy lives.

How to prevent and control eating disorders (casapalmera blog ):
1. Get rid of the notion that a particular diet, weight, or body size will automatically lead to happiness and fulfillment. You are more than just what your body looks like.
2. Learn everything you can about anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other types of eating disorders. Genuine awareness will help you avoid judgmental or mistaken attitudes about food, weight, body shape, and eating disorders
3. Make the choice to challenge the false ideas that thinness and weight loss are great, and that body fat and weight gain are horrible or indicate laziness, worthlessness, or immorality. This can be beneficial because it helps to take negative thoughts to reframe them more positively.
4. Avoid categorizing foods as “good/safe” vs. “bad/dangerous.” Remember that we all need to eat a balanced variety of foods
5. Stop judging others and yourself based on body weight or shape. Turn off the voices in your head that tell you that a person’s body weight is an indicator of their character, personality or value as a person. Again, this is another area where therapy can have a positive outcome.
6. Become a critical viewer of the media and its messages about self-esteem and body image. If you see a magazine advertisement or article that makes you feel bad about your body shape or size, rip it out or write to the editor about it.
7. Choose to value yourself based on your goals, accomplishments, talents, and character. Avoid letting the way you feel about your body weight and shape determine the course of your day.
8. Finally, if you think someone has an eating disorder, express your concerns in a forthright, caring manner. Gently but firmly encourage the person to seek trained professional help. If you have an eating disorder, don’t let it control your life any longer. Call an eating disorder rehabilitation center and find out how a residential treatment program can help you regain control over your life.

ATC-West Healthcare invites you to join hands to #SeeTheChange by enhancing change within the ever-evolving eating disorders world and to #BeTheChange through advocacy and awareness creation

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