Experts Offer Their Insights in Honor of Eating Disorders Awareness Week

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Eating Disorders Awareness Week is observed in Canada during the first week of February.

Laura Berlinguette, executive director of the Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta, stated:

“Organizations throughout the nation will join together to build some type of unified vocabulary to communicate about eating disorders and disordered eating.”

It focuses on finding help for yourself or how to help someone you care about.

It is estimated that over 55,000 Albertans and over 1 million Canadians suffer from eating disorders.

“There’s sort of a range for eating disorders. You’ll hear about anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa as eating disorders, but binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder and affects men and women almost equally,” Berlinguette added.

While eating disorders are the focus of the week, groups like EDSNA seek to increase awareness about disordered eating.

What is the Difference Between Eating Disorder and Disordered Eating?

Berlinguette said that eating disorders and disordered eating might be quite different.

If we think of food as a continuum, you have healthy eating at one end – you have that mind-body connection, and you usually eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, all the way to eating disorders at the other end.

Disordered eating may be defined as a person who does not have a professionally diagnosed eating disorder but has a significant degree of life interruption and suffers with food or body image problems.

So, although eating disorders are usually disordered eating, not every disordered eating is an eating disorder.

While the causes of eating disorders and disordered eating differ, both entail emotions of shame and guilt and may be difficult to diagnose, according to Berlinguette.

Dr. Linda Hancock, a trained psychologist, social worker, and former Hatter, concurs.

“Eating disorders are about feeling out of control,” Hancock told the News.

Sometimes, when individuals are emotionally upset, they don’t know what to do, so they attempt to control their eating instead of dealing with the genuinely bothering problems.

Hancock and Berlinguette believe that Eating Disorders Awareness Week will increase awareness of eating disorders and disordered eating and urge anyone who may be affected to seek assistance.

There is data to indicate that early intervention leads to better results, Berlinguette added.

“We really encourage people to ask those questions earlier and not to leave the concerning behaviours or symptoms to grow and entrench themselves in somebody who’s struggling,”

Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, also urged individuals affected to get help in a statement.

Eating disorders may cause considerable emotional and bodily suffering if undetected, misdiagnosed, and untreated.

The isolation and fear induced by the pandemic and accompanying limitations have only compounded the hardships and emotional problems individuals suffer from eating disorders for many, especially youngsters.

Because only a tiny number of individuals in pain seek medical assistance, your knowledge, empathy, and support might save a life.

A complete recovery is achievable with early diagnosis and suitable therapy.

Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.