From 24th February - 2nd March is Eating Disorders Awareness Week
According to the UK charity Beat,
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses affecting 1.6 million people in the UK – they claim more lives than any other mental illness but are treatable and recovery is possible.
The problem is that awareness of eating disorders is too low.
This week am blogging about eating disorders to raise awareness about this growing issue.
So many people are becoming affected with some form of disordered eating!
The issues around eating disorders have personally affected me and have been part of my journey to look for natural, holistic solutions for health. During my teens and early adult years, I had disordered eating triggered by periods of stress and low blood sugar which led to binge/comfort eating. I felt trapped and unable to break this vicious cycle. Learning about health, nutrition and understanding my personal triggers helped me immensely to recover and rebalance my health.
I also have family members with disordered eating and my most recent challenge has been in supporting my daughter with her recovery process from anorexia.
There are many types of eating disorders.
Binge eating (compulsive overeating), anorexia (self-starvation) and bulimia (bingeing followed by purging) are the main types and more well known ones. Other less known eating disorders include: pica (eating non-food items like clay and chalk), orthorexia (a fixation on eating pure, healthy foods) and anorexia athletica (compulsive exercise, combined with restrictive eating).
Eating disorders are very complex, there can be variations in the typical signs and symptoms and not all of the signs and symptoms for a particular eating disorder will apply. Some people with disordered eating don't fall into the classic categories for anorexia, bullimia or binge eating but share some of the signs and symptoms. They are usually categorised as EDNOS (eating disorders not otherwise specified).
Research suggests many possible reasons for eating disorders including genetic predispositions, lifestyle, biological, psychological, social, cultural and environmental factors.
This poster from 'The National Eating Disorders Collaboration' takes a look at some of the common perceptions around eating disorders.
As so many people are affected with some degree of disordered eating, I believe that raising awareness and promoting understanding is the first step we can all take to help deal with this growing problem.