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Eating Disorders Awareness Week

From February 26th to March 3rd, we are celebrating Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Time to promote awareness, education and understanding of eating disorders.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week serves as an opportunity to raise awareness, educate communities and promote understanding of the complexities of eating disorders. 

Beat, the leading organisation on eating disorders in the UK, will be focusing on Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) in 2024. You can read more about it on their website here

During Eating Disorders Awareness Week, we emphasise the importance of promoting a healthy relationship with food, body positivity and self-esteem but, most of all, educating others about eating disorders. It’s a time to raise awareness and encourage people to take action and support approximately 1,25 million people living with an eating disorder in the UK and those around them. 

That’s roughly 2% of the entire UK population! There are many different types of eating symptoms that chararacterise eating disorders, such as:

  • Preoccupation with food, weight, and body image.
  • Social withdrawal or avoidance of meals with others.
  • Physical symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue or fainting.
  • Anxiety or depression related to body image and eating.
  • Changes in eating habits or rituals, including hoarding food and shifts in food preferences
  • Signs of vomiting or laxative use
  • Excessive, obsessive exercise routines 
  • Misrepresenting the type or quantity of food consumed

It’s important to note that individuals may not exhibit all symptoms, and symptoms can vary in severity. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, seeking professional help is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment.

eating disorders
only affect women

Eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of their age, gender, or background. In fact, 25% of individuals with eating disorders are male, and there is a rising trend of hospital admissions for boys and young men.

eating disorders are only about food and weight

Whilst food and weight are significant aspects, eating disorders often involve complex psychological, emotional, and social factors. Issues such as low self-esteem, control, anxiety and perfectionism can contribute to the development and maintenance of eating disorders. 

you can tell if someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them

People living with eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Some people may be underweight, but others can be at a normal or higher weight. The internal struggles and behaviours may not be evident from outward appearance alone. 

Help us to break down the stigma and myths surrounding eating disorders by sharing our posts on social media. By sharing facts instead of myths, you will help to break down stigma and enable more people who are impacted by eating disorders to access the support they need.

You can also check the activities and webinars organised by BEAT and ways to get involved in a conversation about Eating Disorders on their website.

If you notice that the habits of a loved one, friend or colleague have changed, lead with kindness instead of judgment. However, approaching someone with an eating disorder can be challenging, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one person may not work for another.

It’s useful to have a well-thought-out plan before initiating a conversation and to educate yourself on eating disorders and treatment options.

Read more about Eating Disorders

 

support

Beat is a leading charity for eating disorder support and our support page lists places you can contact if you need urgent help. 

Organisations like SupportED Scotland or NEEDS offer various forms of support, including peer support groups, befriending and support for carers of people diagnosed with eating disorders.

If you or anyone you know requires support, our Advice and Support Service is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, where advisers can signpost you to local support that fits your needs, including our Change Mental Health services. We offer initial advice on money worries and help to deal with emergencies.

Contact 0808 8010 515, email us at advice@changemh.org or fill out the enquiry form on the Advice and Support Service page.

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