Get Involved for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, an annual awareness event meant to shine a light on what eating disorders are and what resources are available for those who need support. And, to help spread the word, we’re sharing some essential facts that you should know about eating disorders—plus some tips that you can implement at home to be an ally to this important cause.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which this year runs from February 22nd-February 28th, was founded by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the nation’s largest non-profit organization for individuals dealing with eating disorders and their families.

For more than 30 years, this annual, week-long event has been an opportunity for individuals all around the country to join forces in supporting those with eating disorders and setting the record straight on questions like “is anorexia a mental illness?” (yes) and “are only women affected by eating disorders?” (no).

Here’s what you should know, as well as some easy ways you can get involved.

Quick Eating Disorder Facts

Part of the purpose of this week—and NEDA in general—is to set the record straight when it comes to eating disorders.

There are six commonly recognized types of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Also recognized is OSFED, or “other specified feeding or eating disorder,” which refers to disordered eating patterns that don’t necessarily fit into another set category.

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood of all mental illnesses, eating disorders are surrounded by many myths and misconceptions—all of which can harm those who currently suffer, as well as those in recovery.

With that in mind, here are some important facts about these illnesses from the Academy of Eating Disorders:

.Eating disorders are a health crisis

.People can look healthy and still have an eating disorder

.Having an eating disorder isn’t a choice

.Families aren’t to blame for an individual’s eating disorder

.Eating disorders do carry an increased risk for suicide

.Genes and the environment are two factors that can lead someone to develop an eating disorder…… but genetics alone aren’t fully the cause of eating disorders

And last, but certainly not least:

.Recovery from an eating disorder is possible

How to Increase Eating Disorder Awareness

You don’t have to have an eating disorder yourself to support those who do. This National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, consider getting involved and helping others through one or more of the following ways.

1.Educate yourself. Just learning the facts alone can make you a strong ally.

2.Prioritize your mental health. Practice better mental health habits and encourage others to do the same.

3.Offer support. Lend a non-judgmental ear to a friend or loved one who is struggling with their eating habits.

4.Watch and share videos. Engage with content that promotes healthy eating and eating disorder recovery, and share it with others too.

5.Open your mind. Be open to the experiences of others, especially the minority groups that aren’t often the center of the conversation around eating disorders.

As for this week in particular, be an advocate for a better understanding of eating disorders by engaging on social media with the hashtag #NEDAwareness and, if relevant, sharing your own story, which may help others feel less alone in their journey.

In Need of Mental Health Support?

At Retreat, we offer behavioral and mental health services that assist with treating a wide range of mental disorders.
Please contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation with one of our mental health professionals.