Eating Disorders: Awareness and Screening

Posted on February 25, 2019 by kerri

Trigger warning:  This post contains discussion of eating disorders, eating habits, and disturbances around eating behaviours.

It’s Eating Disorders Awareness and Screening week. It does not matter who you are, where you live, or any other factors, anyone can be affected by an eating disorder—Eating Disorder Hope defines eating disorders as “illnesses that are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape.” [1] Eating disorders may also be known as feeding and eating disorders, as they affect not only what or how much a person eats, but the manner in which they may consume food. [2

Eating disorders awareness

Here are some things you may not know about eating disorders:

  • Eating disorders may be considered a chronic illness, and “anorexia is the third most common chronic disease among young people, after asthma and type 1 diabetes.” [3
  • Those who identify as male represent a quarter of individuals with anorexia—they are also at a higher risk of dying from an eating disorder, as “many people assume males don’t have eating disorders.” [3
  • Eating disorders may be considered “subclinical” in that disordered eating behaviours are present (such as binge-eating, fasting for more than 24 hours with intention to lose weight, laxative abuse, or purging), but significant weight loss and physical harm has not yet occurred. These behaviours are nearly as common in males as they are in females. [3
  • Binge Eating Disorder is present in 3.5% of women and 2% of men; binge eating disorder is more than three times more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. [3

Signs of eating disorders

There is an extensive list of common signs and symptoms of eating disorders; due to the length of this list and the intricate behavioural (actions) and psychological (thoughts) signs of eating disorders, it is best to refer to the complete list—you can find a comprehensive list from Eating Disorders Victoria.

Screening for eating disorders

Speaking to a healthcare provider can provide you information about eating disorders and also help you determine if you are at risk. However, you may also wish to complete an online screening, available from the National Eating Disorders Association, or NEDA, one of the best known charities supporting those with eating disorders.

Medical ID jewelry for eating disorders

As eating disorders can be lifelong and both psychological and physical symptoms can arise, including potential medical emergencies, it is important to wear medical ID jewelry to keep yourself safe. Many styles of medical ID bracelets for eating disorders and other health conditions can be found in our shop.

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