• Eating Disorder Awareness Week; Get in the Know

    Eating Disorder Awareness Week; Get in the Know


    Written by Nicole T, MA, MS, CAADC, CTP, NCC

    National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is currently from February 20, 2024- March 3, 2024. This week is set aside as a way to recognize, support, educate, and raise awareness for eating disorders. Here are some interesting statistics that you might not know about eating disorders:

    Over 29 million Americans will experience an eating disorder in their lifetimes (NEDA, 2024). That is roughly 9% of the US population.

    Eating disorders have the 2nd highest rate of mortality among all psychiatric illnesses, with someone dying every 52 minutes as a direct result (NEDA, 2024).

    BIPOC with eating disorders are half as likely to be diagnosed or receive treatment (NEDA, 2024).

    As someone who has struggled in the past with disordered eating patterns and body image issues, this is something that is very close to my heart. Despite media representation, eating disorders are not limited to young women. Eating disorders are complex biopsychosocial illnesses, and do not discriminate based on age, gender, wealth, body shape/size, weight, race or ethnicity.

    So, what exactly is an eating disorder? Eating disorders are serious often fatal illnesses that are associated with severe disturbances in people’s eating behaviors and related to thoughts and emotions. This can include preoccupation with food, body weight, and shape. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2024).

    Often times, it might be hard to identify when a loved one is struggling. What are some signs and symptoms that you or a loved one might be struggling with an eating disorder? I am just going to touch on the 3 most common: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, but know that while they are the 3 most common, there are more types than just these 3. These are the following signs/symptoms of eating disorders according to the National Institute of Mental Health (2024):

    Anorexia Nervosa: Anorexia nervosa is a condition where people avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small quantities of only certain foods. They also may weigh themselves repeatedly. Even when dangerously underweight, they may see themselves as overweight.

    Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia nervosa is a condition where people have recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. This binge-eating is followed by behavior that compensates for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors. It is really important to note that people with bulimia nervosa may be slightly underweight, normal weight, or over overweight.

    Binge Eating Disorder: Binge-eating disorder is a condition where people lose control over their eating and have reoccurring episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.

    Eating disorders can hold a lot of stigma, shame, guilt, and fear for many who are struggling. Negative beliefs can keep you trapped in the cycle, and can hold people back from receiving care that they need. Eating Disorders can impact our loved ones in ways that we cannot imagine. Seeking support can help you realize that you are not alone.

    If you or someone you love is currently struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating patterns, Everlasting Wellness LLC has therapists who can support you. I understand and empathize that reaching out can be stressful or even scary, but so can living with an eating disorder. Taking that first step can lead to a journey of recovery and freedom. You can check out therapists like myself and others at Everlasting Wellness LLC and get set up for therapy via the website. My direct link is https://everlastingwellnesscounseling.com/staff/nicole-ma-ms-caadc/.

    I have also started a support group for those struggling with disordered eating patterns and body image issues. You can find more information about that here: https://everlastingwellnesscounseling.com/support-groups/. If you are struggling, just remember, you are not alone, and you are more than your eating disorder.






    National Institute of Mental Health. (2024). Eating disorders. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders#:~:text=Eating%20disorders%20are%20actually%20serious,also%20signal%20an%20eating%20disorder.

    National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). (2024, February 23). Eating disorders awareness week #EDAW- Neda. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/eating-disorders-awareness-week-2024/



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