Eating Disorder Awareness might have passed this year but the conversation about it should go on. Every year from 26th February to 3rd March marks this week. Eating disorder is a condition where a person has disturbance in their eating behavior and complications in physical and mental health. It affects millions of people regardless of their age or gender. This is a problem which can be very isolating for the person, people often shame and want it to be a secret. According to NEDA 70 million people are living with eating disorders.

Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa and Binge eating are some commonly known eating disorder but there are disorders which are lesser known. Eating disorders are complex because if affects a person’s relationship with their food and weight. These disorders also occur with anxiety, depression, chronic stress and other mental health issues. It is a treatable, but real issue is there are a lot of saying by people around and the myths that exists. It is important to educate people who stay around a person suffering from these disorders.

Someone with bulimia nervosa, who eats then have guilt and as a result they indulge in purging behaviour. Societal expectations can also play a major role cause for a person to have these disorders. It is said that more than men, women suffers from eating disorders because of certain beauty standards which are set by people. Instead of commenting on their body or asking them to eat less, people who are around should talk to them politely to find the problem and should encourage the victim to seek professional help. It is said that more than men, women suffer from these disorders because of certain beauty standards set by the society.

There are various organizations and support groups which work on this issue –

1. NATIONAL EATING DISORDER ASSOCIATION (NEDA) – based in the US, this organization provide hope and helps individual and family who suffer from eating disorder.

2. National ASSOCIATION FOR ANOREXIA NERVOSA – provides free support to people who suffer from eating disorders.

For spreading awareness –

a. For people who suffer from eating disorders, it is very necessary to make them understand the importance of their own body as they have an unhealthy connection with own body and weight.

b. Should promote body positivity and challenge the beauty standard existing in society because of which people feel insecure about their own body.

c. Encouraging people to come up and have open conversation.

d. Seeking professional help.

By raising awareness about eating disorders we can create a safe space for people to share their struggles, face the challenges, and seek help.

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