How to recognize and deal with eating disorders

Kathryn Forsyth

The first full week of February each year is designated as Eating Disorder Awareness Week or EDAW. Unfortunately, eating disorders is a topic that many people are reluctant to discuss. For rural clients, the road to recovery can be lonely and long, but there is help available. Read on to increase your awareness of this condition that affects both men and women, young and old.

There are four main types of eating disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa: identified by drastic weight loss from excessive dieting. Individuals that suffer from Anorexia do not recognize how underweight they are and this makes it difficult for them to seek help.

Bulimia Nervosa: identified by frequent fluctuations in weight and periods of uncontrolled binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, excessive exercising or fasting. This is the most common type of eating disorder in North America.

Binge Eating: identified by uncontrolled impulsive or continuous eating to the point of extreme discomfort. Purging is uncommon. This disorder is often accompanied by significant emotional distress and shame, depression and obesity.

Disordered Eating: a range of food and weight-related beliefs and practices that negatively affect an individual’s overall well-being which can include chronic dieting, compulsive eating and behaviour seen in anorexia or bulimia.

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