February 22-28, 2009 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Eating disorders are serious, often life threatening, conditions that effect sufferer’s mentally, physically, and emotionally. Eating disorders generally include an unhealthy relationship with food and one’s own body image. Eating disorders effect millions of Americans and include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, and orthorexia nervosa. The causes of eating disorders are complicated and not fully known; psychological issues, low self-esteem, trauma, interpersonal difficulties, cultural norms, learning, and biological factors can all be part of the problem. Treatment can also be very complicated and should be done by professionals. Treatment should include psychological and nutritional counseling; it may include inpatient treatment and medication management. (more…)
In order to help people better understand eating disorders, here are explanations of anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and orthorexia. If you or someone you know is suffering from any of these symptoms, please contact a therapist or doctor in your area right away.
Anorexia Nervosa is diagnosed when one refuses to maintain a healthy body weight, experiences an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image, and has not experienced a menstrual cycles for three months in a row (in females). A BMI less than 18.5 in adults generally suggests Anorexia Nervosa. Those with this disorder are often secretive, exercise excessively, drastically restrict their intake of food, and practice other forms of self-harm. Other effects of this disorder include decreased libido, thinning hair, growth of lanugo (delicate down-like hair), consistent feeling of coldness, zinc deficiency, reduced white blood cell count, reduced immunity, sunken eyes, swollen ankles, tooth decay, constipation, dry skin, dry lips, dry hair, poor circulation, headaches, easily bruised, brittle fingernails, fainting, and starvation. (more…)
Over these seven days, those touched and affected by an eating disorder will take part in events that foster awareness for eating disorders. Sponsored by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the organization is bringing people together to share their stories, information, ideas and hope in order to rally support for those impacted by an eating disorder.
Our body-obsessed culture is taking its toll on our health. From obesity to anorexia, while eating disorders are psychologically-based, there a host of environmental factors that enable a seemingly benign thought about body image to cascade into a full-blown disorder. (more…)