Eating disorders awareness week
This week our partner organisation Bodywhys, runs a series of events to raise awareness about eating disorders and supports available for those affected.
There are a lot of myths about eating disorders, which can hinder people realising they might need some help. It’ll come as no surprise to you that the media doesn’t help, often portraying eating disorders and people who suffer from them in unrealistic ways.
Knowing the truth about eating disorders will help you recognise the signs to get help for yourself or a friend, if necessary.
Some common myths are:
People who are normal or overweight can’t have eating disorders
You don’t have to look like a skeleton to have an eating disorder. Only a small percentage of people reach the state of emaciation so frequently pictured in particular magazines.
There are lots of different types of eating disorders and many of them don’t involve people starving themselves.
Unhealthy eating patterns of any kind, be it, binging, vomiting or taking laxatives are very serious regardless of weight. These behaviours can do severe damage to a person’s body and need to be taken seriously. Read up on the different types of eating disorders.
Only women suffer from eating disorders
Although they’re more common in women it’s estimated 10% of cases of anorexia and bulimia are experienced by men. Cases of binge eating disorder are much more equally divided, with up to 50% of cases occurring in men.
Eating disorders are all about looks
Although people with eating disorders often have poor body image and obsess about food and weight, this is actually not the main focus of the disorder. People can use/abuse food to help them feel more in control of their world and relieve distress. Eating disorders are actually about feeling in control and coping with overwhelming emotions.
Eating disorders are not really that dangerous
Eating disorders all have the risk for resulting in potentially life threatening medical conditions. These risks increase if an eating disorder is not treated in a timely manner.
They can also cause many damaging long term health effects that reduce the quality of life. The sooner someone gets help for their eating disorder the less negative effects it will have on health. Read about recovering from an eating disorder.
This Saturday, 25 February, Bodywhys have organised a five kilometre walk in the Phoenix Park to celebrate positive body image. It starts at 2 pm near the papal cross. Dress up as much or as little as you like. In case of rain, make sure you bring your most colourful umbrella!
The walk is open to all – if you have any queries or would like to get involved, please contact Fiona at email@example.com.
Harroit Parsons from Bodywhys is our featured expert for the month of February answering all your questions about eating disorders.