Eating Disorders Awareness Week

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is an annual campaign to educate the public about the various types of eating disorders and to provide hope, support, and visibility to those affected. This campaign is highlighted from February 27th – March 5th. The theme for this year’s campaign is C.A.R.E. (Continue the Conversation. Act Early. Strengthen Recovery. End the Cycle). Organizations, health professionals, and various communities are encouraged to increase awareness of disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders, share best practices for improving the quality of care, and engage in conversations about healthy eating and body image.

According to Elizabeth Healthcare nutritionists, there are six different types of eating patterns –

. Emotional Eater – This person tends to eat when they’re happy, sad, stressed, or bored
. Unconscious Eater – This person tends to see food and wants to eat it; can’t resist the temptation of free food
. Habitual Eater – This person exercises the same routine and eats the same food daily; at some point this could lead to burnout and then the person might begin to binge eat
. Critical Eater – This person is on top of and may have even tried several different diets
. Sensual Eater – This person enjoys trying new foods and doesn’t think much about it
. Energy Eater – This person tries to eat as many calories as possible by selecting “healthier” options; but fails to realize how much they’re eating

According to Breathe Life Healing Centers, Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses characterized by extreme disturbances to a person’s eating habits, thoughts, and feelings surrounding food, body image, and weight. Eating disorders can affect anyone of any gender, age, or cultural background, though they usually first appear during adolescence or young adulthood.

Eating disorders arise when someone’s preoccupation with food, body shape, or weight causes significant distress. These preoccupations can lead to physical and psychological issues, such as erratic behavior around food and severe nutritional deficiencies. People with eating disorders can lead happy and fulfilling lives with adequate treatment.

The most common types of eating disorders include Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Pica. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by low weight, food restriction, body image disturbance, fear of gaining weight, and an overpowering desire to be thin. Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that is characterized by episodes of binging and purging the food or associated calories. Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by frequent and recurrent binge eating episodes with associated negative psychological and social problems, but without subsequent purging episodes. Pica is the eating or craving of things that are not food. It can be a disorder in itself or a sign of other cultural or medical phenomena.

If you or someone you know may be currently battling an eating disorder, please contact the NEDA Helpline via phone, text or chat. To visit the resources and communication methods please click here.


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