Eating Disorders Awareness week (EDAW)
Monday 2 March marked the start of Eating Disorders Awareness week. This week aims to improve the public understanding of eating disorders – the causes, dangers, treatments and fighting the myths and misunderstandings that surround anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorders and other specified feeding or eating disorder’1.
Eating disorders are not a choice and approximately 1.25 million people in the UK suffer with an eating disorder2.
The focus of this year’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week is ‘why wait?’. It has been shown that starting treatment as early as possible improves the likelihood of a full recovery2,3. While not everyone with an eating disorder will be ready to change you can still be there to support them and encourage treatment.
However, in order to encourage someone to seek help, people need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of eating disorders (another focus of Eating Disorder Awareness Week). Signs and symptoms can be specific to the type of ED someone is suffering with but a few common signs to look out for are3:
Emotional and behavioural signs
- Preoccupation with weight, food and calories
- Appearing uncomfortable eating around others
- Food rituals, skipping meals or taking small portions of food
- Extreme mood swings
- Withdrawal from usual friends and activities
- Noticeable fluctuations in weight, both up and down
- Difficulties concentrating
- Feeling cold all the time
- Muscle weakness
- Impaired immune function or poor wound healing
For more specific signs and symptoms to look out for visit nationaleatingdisorders.org/warning-signs-and-symptoms.
It is also important to raise awareness for the families of those suffering with and eating disorder. The stress of caring for someone with an eating disorder can cause their own mental and physical health to deteriorate. For those caring for someone with an eating disorder it is important to make sure you have some time away, doing things you enjoy, guilt free, to help you cope and stay fit to care for the one you love. more tips on how to cope as an eating disorder carer visit beateatingdisorders.org.uk/someone-else/support-for-carers
If you would like to get involved with Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2020 visit:
- Awareness Days (2020) Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2020 Available at: https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/eating-disorders-awareness-week-2020/ (Accessed: 20.02.20)
- Beat (2020) Statistics for Journalists Available at: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/media-centre/eating-disorder-statistics (Accessed: 20.02.20)
- Bauer et al. (2013) Advances in the prevention and early intervention of eating disorders: The potential of Internet-delivered approaches Mental Health & Prevention 1(1):26-32
- National Eating Disorder Awareness (2018) Warning Signs and Symptoms Available at: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/warning-signs-and-symptoms (Accessed: 20.02.20)