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Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) is an international event for raising awareness and understanding of eating disorders, whilst also aiming to challenge stereotypes and stigmas in the process. The awareness campaign will run from 25th February - 3rd March 2019 with fundraising and educational events planned across the globe.
Eating disorders are mental illnesses that involve abnormal patterns of eating that severely interfere with your everyday life. This could range from eating extremely small amounts of food, to excessively eating in an uncontrolled manner.
The most common eating disorders are:
Anorexia nervosa – A mental illness where individuals become underweight and subsequently distressed regarding their body image and shape. Often, people suffering from anorexia severely restrict their eating, and exercise excessively due to a belief that their personal problems are caused by their physical appearance.
Bulimia nervosa – People suffering from bulimia nervosa find themselves eating large quantities of food (binge eating) and then compensate by repeatedly trying to control their weight in extreme ways. These can include purging (vomiting or using laxatives or diuretics) or exercising excessively.
Binge eating disorder – People with binge eating disorder have episodes of intense eating in which they consume very large quantities of food in a brief period and feel out of control during the binge. Unlike people with bulimia nervosa, they do not try to get rid of the food by unsafe methods. Binge eating is chronic and can lead to serious health complications, particularly severe obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The chance for recovery increases the earlier an eating disorder is detected. Therefore, it is important to be aware of some of the emotional and physical warning signs of an eating disorder.
- Preoccupation with weight, food, calories and dieting.
- Feeling uncomfortable eating around others.
- Withdrawal from usual friends and social activities.
- Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws in appearance.
- Noticeable fluctuations in weight, both up and down.
- Sleep problems.
- Dry skin and hair, as well as brittle nails.
Eating disorders are complex disorders, influenced by many factors. Though the exact cause of eating disorders is unknown, it is generally believed that a combination of factors contribute to the development of these illnesses. These include:
Biological – e.g. Genetics, hormones & nutritional deficiencies.
Psychological – e.g. Negative body image & poor self-esteem.
Environmental – e.g. Family and childhood traumas, peer pressure among friends & professions that promote being thin and weight loss, such as ballet, sport and modelling.
Sock It to Eating Disorders – Eating disorder charity Beat are encouraging you to team up with your school, community or workplace and wear your brightest, boldest socks to raise awareness for EDAW.
Click here to order your Sock It fundraising pack.
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