As we recognize National Eating Disorder Awareness Week from February 26th-March 4th, 2018, it is a perfect time for us to broaden our knowledge on the breadth, impact, and treatment of eating disorders.
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and include such things as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge-Eating Disorder, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, and others. Eating disorders can lead to serious psychological and physical complications. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. These disorders can lead to problems in social and emotional functioning and in relationships with caregivers, peers, and siblings. Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses that impact an estimated 30 million people in the U.S. There is no one single cause for an eating disorder, and eating disorders affect people from all ages, ethnicities, and genders.
Eating disorders are not lifestyle choices or fads – those who have eating disorders are not making willful choices to restrict calories, binge eat, or purge. The illness can have devastating effects on emotional reasoning, cognitive functioning, and social skills. Individuals with eating disorders often feel powerless to the effects of the eating disorder.
It is important to be educated on potential signs and symptoms of an eating disorder. Some symptoms include: an intense preoccupation with food, weight, or one’s body; compulsive exercise; withdrawal from peers or family; constant fear of gaining weight or becoming fat; refusal to eat except for small portions; restriction of previously enjoyed foods; lack of menstruation; eating alone or in secret; eating large amounts of food in short periods of time; and abuse of diet pills or laxatives. Eating disorders are treatable and there is hope for long-term recovery. The more we can educate ourselves about these illnesses and the treatment options available, the better we can serve those who are struggling with an eating disorder and help restore balance and peace. This 2018 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week spread education and support for those in need, and may the rest of the year be filled with health, happiness, and self-compassion.
Miranda Barfuss, Director of Development, TriCity Family Services
There are a variety of treatment options available that range from intensive inpatient treatment to local support groups. At TriCity Family Services in Geneva, we offer an outpatient, comprehensive, family-based approach to treating eating disorders which recognizes parents and caregivers as the best resource for their child’s/adolescent’s recovery. We work closely with the family and empower caregivers to be central in the treatment of their child. For more information about eating disorders and their treatment, please visit www.tricityfamilyservices.org or call 630-232-1070.