Friday 3rd March
National Eating Disorders Awareness week takes place this year from Monday 27th February until Sunday 5th March. The aim is to increase awareness of eating disorders and to provide support to those currently suffering with, or in recovery from, an eating disorder.
Anyone can suffer with an eating disorder, but the prevalence is higher among young women. Eating disorders are characterised by an obsession with food or body shape and involve disordered eating behaviour. This may mean restricting the amount of food eaten, eating large quantities of food over a short period of time (binging), engaging in unhealthy means to get rid of excess food consumed (e.g., purging, excessive exercise or laxative use), or a combination of all of these behaviours.
Eating disorders are thought to affect 1 in 50 people in the UK. Spotting signs and symptoms early can be key in determining successful treatment.
According to BEAT (www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk) around 1.25 million people in the UK suffer with an eating disorder. They can affect people of all ages, gender, and background. Eating disorders include binge eating disorder, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, anorexia, and other specified eating disorder. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
According to NEDA, the risk factors for the development of eating disorders fall into three categories:
Eating disorders are secretive in nature, sometimes making them difficult to stop. According to Very Well Mind, the following signs and symptoms may indicate that someone has an eating disorder (this list is not exhaustive):
If you suspect a friend or loved one has an eating disorder, or you yourself are struggling with symptoms, the following websites offer further resources and advice on accessing help:
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