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National Eating Disorders Awareness (“NEDA”) Week is an observance to bring awareness to the seriousness of eating disorders across the United States. Each year, the final week of February is designated Eating Disorders Awareness Week. In 2023, Eating Disorder Awareness Week begins on Monday, February 27th, and ends on Sunday, March 5th. The theme of this year’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week is “It’s Time for Change.” #EDAW2023

Eating disorders have a variety of causes

According to NEDA, the risk factors fall into three categories:

  • Biological Someone with an immediate family member (such as a parent or sibling) who has an eating disorder is at risk of developing one themselves.
  • Psychological People who have or had an anxiety disorder are more likely to develop an eating disorder.
  • Social People from racial or ethnic minority groups who experience “acculturation,” or pressure to assimilate Western ideals of beauty and ways of life, have an increased risk of eating disorders.

There is a commonly held misconception that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. Eating disorders are serious and often fatal illnesses that are associated with severe disturbances in people’s eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. Preoccupation with food, body weight, and shape may also signal an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

What is the most common eating disorder in the United States?

Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States. Binge-eating disorder is a condition where people lose control over their eating and have reoccurring episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese.

Symptoms include:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as a 2-hour period.
  • Eating even when you’re full or not hungry.
  • Eating fast during binge episodes.
  • Eating until you’re uncomfortably full.
  • Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment.
  • Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating.
  • Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss.

Treatments and therapies

Eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of age, size, gender, race, sexuality, ability, and more, however, the chance for recovery increases the earlier an eating disorder is detected.

It is important to seek treatment early for eating disorders. People with eating disorders are at higher risk for suicide and medical complications. People with eating disorders can often have other mental disorders (such as depression or anxiety) or problems with substance use.

Treatment plans are tailored to individual needs and may include one or more of the following:

  • Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy.
  • Medical care and monitoring.
  • Nutritional counseling.
  • Medications.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder and you are being denied benefits by your insurance, please call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation or complete our online form. We understand, and we can help.