Welcome to another blog post by mental health carer Matthew Mckenzie. Sometimes I write about coping as a mental health carer, other times I ll review an event or lecture, but I think its about time to raise some awareness. Of the time of this blog post, it is National Eating Disorder Awareness week, usually runs near the end of February.
If you wish, feel free to watch the video version of this blog post via my You Tube Channel.
Many organistions promote National Eating Disorder Awareness week. One of the organisations is the NEDA, which stands for the National Eating Disorders Association.
Taken from their site, The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness) is to put the spotlight on eating disorders and improve public understanding of their causes, dangers and treatments.
You can catch more information about the NEDA off their site which is http://nedawareness.org/
What are Eating disorders?
Take note, that I am no expert in eating disorders. So I am going to put try explain eating disorders via a basic simplistic way. Usually eating disorders is when someone has an abnormal behaviour towards how they eat food. They may refuse to eat foods to try and keep a very low weight or someone might eat uncontrollably due to finding food helps their esteem.
To be honest, we all have different attitudes to food, but when our habits to food becomes uncontrollable or begins to affect our health, then this can lead to dangerous health problems.
There are different types of Eating disorders, here are a few.
Binge Eating Disorder
Who is raising awareness?
Being that it is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week at the time of this blog post, many other mental health organisations help try and raise awareness. See their site links below.
As with many mental health awareness weeks or days, there is usually a theme and the themes for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week depends on the organisation.
The NEDA theme is “3 Minutes can save a life”.
This theme concentrates on how important it is to get screened for an eating disorder, it only takes 3 minutes to complete a screening and early intervention can save a life.
For Beat (Beating Eating Disorders), their theme is on Eating disorders at the workplace. For more info, check our their site on https://www.b-eat.co.uk/support-us/eating-disorder-awareness-week
Unfortunately in the UK 725,000 people suffer from eating disorders, while over in the US, it is estimated that 8 million Americans although mostly women suffering from an eating disorder.
If suffering from an eating disorder, it is usually best to see a doctor, but NEDA does offer confidential online screening via the link below.
Carers of those suffering eating disorders
Again as with many carers, there are those who care for those suffering from eating disorders. A carer is someone who is unpaid to try and provide care for some their loved one, be it a close relative, friend or even neighbour. Mental health problems can affect carers as well as their loved ones. If you are a carer of someone suffering eating disorders, make sure you get support for yourself as well as the person you care for.
There are some tips below that could be of some use to eating disorder carers.
- Keep an eye on how many meals the person is missing
- Look out for the language your loved one is using e.g.
I am too fat
Am I too thin?
I am too overweight
- To be honest, many young people might complain of body image, but if this becomes constant and is acted upon then it could be early signs of an eating disorder.
- The person continues to buy low diet foods, even when they are already thin.
- Having difficultly eating in public or with the family.
- There are many more tips, the ones mentioned are a basic few…
Having to care for someone with eating disorders can be difficult as emotions can play a large roll in sustaining a caring relation with the sufferer, but try an reassure that you are there for them.
There is an excellent site from Eating Disorder Carer Veronica Kamerling via http://www.eatingdisordersandcarers.co.uk/
Another good site that mentions Eating disorders is at https://bridgetjones12.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/people-with-eating-disorders-are-not-selfish/
More information (UK) can be found via Beating Eating Disorders (beat) site – https://www.b-eat.co.uk/
In the US feel free to check the National Eating Disorders Association site on http://nedawareness.org/