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National Eating Disorder Awareness Week


Written by Kayla Garnett

If your friend were to ask you “Do I look fat in this top?” how would you respond? If you're anything like the average person, a “Of course not, it's all in your head!” would suffice. But is it enough? Teens struggle with an unthinkable amount of problems everyday. The common vein beneath many of these problems can be traced to a need to belong, to fit in.


Eating disorders are “serious and often fatal illnesses that are associated with severe disturbances in people’s eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions” (NIH.gov). They are mental illnesses that can lead to serious physical consequences; the gravity of having an eating disorder should not be overlooked.


In mass media, eating disorders are often seen as affecting only “rich girls,” often being associated with other deadly, body weight related trends like “heroin chic.” Trying to fit into the beauty standard (which often favors a particular, very thin image) is something every teen goes through to varying degrees, because humans are hardwired with a desire for acceptance.


National Eating Disorder Awareness Week occurs this year from February 27th- March 5th. The 2023 theme is “Strength through Experience and Knowledge” and “Its Time for a Change.” This week was instituted to bring awareness to these mental illnesses, and again, dissolve the stigma or stereotypes that surround it.


The truth is, eating disorders do not discriminate. Although females have eating disorders at a higher rate than males, the illness affects both – regardless of ethnic group, financial situation, or even age. Eating disorders are thought to be “caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors” (NIH.gov). This means that peers, social media, etc. have an influence on developing an eating disorder, and can conversely help reverse one.


If you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, please do not hesitate to get help. It isn't embarrassing or stupid to have developed eating disorders, and there are many resources to help address them. This Eating Disorder Awareness Week, consider talking to someone about eating disorders, or making a post about it. Talking about scary things doesn't make them go away, but it makes it easy for someone who may be affected to get up and get help.


Sources

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/eating-disorders/whhttps://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/eatingdisordersawarenessweekat-are-eating-disorders



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