It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, here’s what you need to know

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About 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from an eating disorder during their lifetime, National Eating Disorders reports.

Each year, National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) week takes place Feb 24- Mar 1.

It’s a week dedicating to raising awareness about the individuals and families affected by eating disorders.

Eating disorders can take many forms of both restricting and overeating.

Warning signs and symptoms of an eating disorder

Warning signs of an eating disorder will vary depending on the type of disorder and the person, but some behavioral symptoms may include behaviors that indicate weight loss, dieting and food control.

A person may suddenly become more preoccupied with weight, food and calories and appear uncomfortable eating around others.

Additionally, physical changes may occur in those that have or are developing an eating disorder, including dizziness, dry skin and hair, muscle weakness, menstrual irregularities, stomach cramps and sleeping irregularities.

Types of eating disorders

Some common eating disorders include:

Bulimia Nervosa: Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss (or lack of appropriate weight gain in growing children); difficulties maintaining an appropriate body weight for height, age, and stature; and in many individuals, distorted body image.

Anorexia nervosa: Bulimia nervosa is characterized by a cycle of binge eating. It is typically followed by compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo the effects of binge eating.

Binge eating disorder: Binge eating disorder, the most common eating disorder in the United States, is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food; a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.

Orthorexia: Orthorexia was coined in 1998 to describe an obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating.

Treatment

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, here are some of the options you can look into for treating eating disorders and getting help.

Intensive Outpatient – this type of treatment is administered when the patient is medically stable and does not need daily medical monitoring.

Partial Hospital – the patient is medically stable but the eating disorder impairs functioning (without immediate risk) and needs daily assessment of physiologic and mental status. People also go through this type of treatment when the patient is psychiatrically stable but unable to function in normal social situations. This patient may engage in daily binge eating, purging, fasting or very limited food intake

Residential – patient is medically stable and requires no intensive medical intervention or patient is psychiatrically impaired and unable to respond to partial hospital or outpatient treatment

There are several more treatment methods including psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and more, which you can view at the NEDA website here.

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