The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) reported that 20 million women and 10 million men in the U.S. will develop an eating disorder — including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder or eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) — at some point in their lives.
Eating disorders are serious mental health problems that involve extreme emotions, attitudes and behaviors regarding an individual’s weight, food and eating habits. People with eating disorders engage in unhealthy behaviors (e.g., starvation, self-induced vomiting, misusing diet pills, laxatives or diuretics) as an effort to prevent weight gain or to lose weight, which can result in serious health consequences and even death.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. As eating disorders often appear during adolescence and young adulthood, it is critical to provide youth with messages that promote self-esteem and a healthy body image. In addition, better treatment outcomes result from early prevention and recognition of eating disorders. By identifying those at risk of developing eating disorders as early as possible, more people can be given effective treatment and recover.
Despite the significant number of people affected by eating disorders, only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders actually receive treatment. As an effort to increase awareness of the needs of people with eating disorders and reduce stigma related to eating disorders, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has partnered with Screening for Mental Health (SMH) to provide free and confidential online screenings for eating disorders to the public.
The NEDA and SMH provide free online self-assessments for eating disorders for participants through the National Eating Disorder Screening Program to raise public awareness of eating disorders during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which will be held Feb. 21-27, 2016, to help people determine whether they are at risk of developing an eating disorder and to provide those who are at risk with feedback and referral information for local resources to receive additional evaluations and/or treatment.
Thousands of other national organizations, schools and communities will be hosting activities and events designed to promote awareness of eating disorders, educate the public and provide online screenings during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. In addition, the NEDA provides online resources to those who want to host activities or events for promoting awareness of eating disorders and will be hosting several walks throughout the U.S. to provide support to people and their families affected by eating disorders.
Eating disorders can have detrimental consequences on individuals and their families. The earlier these individuals are reached and seek professional help, the more likely they are to recover. The Sovereign Health Group offers behavioral treatment programs for eating disorders, substance abuse, mental illness and co-occurring disorders.
At Sovereign Health’s San Clemente location, patients with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa receive individualized treatment plans based on their specific needs. For more information about eating disorders or the programs offered at Sovereign Health, please contact our 24/7 helpline to speak to a member of our team.
Written by Amanda Habermann, M.S. clinical psychology, Sovereign Health Group writer
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