Every 62 minutes, someone dies as a result of an eating disorder* .
In Britain alone, around 725.000 people are affected by an eating disorder, according to an estimation in February 2015 by PwC.
However, a lot of confusion and misconceptions exist around eating disorders. The disease is therefore often detected late. That’s a shame, because the earlier the disorder is discovered, the greater are the chances of recovery. That’s why the UK charity B-EAT (Beating eating disorders) initiated Eating Disorders Awareness Week several years ago, in order to raise awareness.
— Beat (@beatED) March 1, 2017
This year, Eating Disorder Awareness Week takes place from February the 27th to March the 5th.
What is an eating disorder?
An eating disorder is a mental illness which involves distorted eating patterns and a great fear of loosing control over your weight.
For people affected by the disorder, food becomes an obsession that can start to dominate their whole life. An eating disorder can occur in various forms: some people will eat very little or nothing at all, while others will binge on food. It can also be a combination of both.
The most common eating disorders are Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder. In addition, there are other eating problems varying in symptoms between these three.
Prejudice and misconceptions about eating disorders
It may seem like eating disorders have to do with what can be visibly seen: food and weight. Yet an eating disorder is a complex mental illness. Many people have heard of anorexia or bulimia, but do not really know what an eating disorder is. This is why we hear so many myths and misconceptions about it. For instance the fact that you can detect if someone has an eating disorder by their appearance.
Read more about misconceptions, myths and prejudices.
Lots of studies are being conducted to research this disease. For instance, Clinical psychologist Dr Ina Beitner researches the prevention of eating disorders at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany. Minddistrict interviewed her about her research. Read the interview here.
Awareness about eating disorders
Creating attention and awareness about eating disorders this week with Eating Disorders Awareness Week is a necessity. However, attention all year long is needed to gain even more knowledge, help to break stigma and support people affected by it. Because no, an eating is disorder is not a choice. And yes, eating disorders should be diagnosed as early as possible. We support Eating Disorders Awareness Week. What about you?
*According to research from various US foundations for mental health