Early Intervention Can Save Lives: A Reminder During Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Approximately 1.25 million people suffer from eating disorders (eds) in the UK. According to Beat Eating Disorders, eating disorders “include bulimia, binge eating disorder, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), and anorexia, which tragically has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.”

‘Beat Eating Disorders’ (Beat) is the UK’s top eating disorder charity, established in 1989 with a mission to stop the pain caused by eating disorders. The illness affects many more than the diagnosed, tearing families apart, putting a strain on relationships and robbing many of precious time.

EDAW, or Eating Disorders Awareness Week, is an annual national campaign to educate the public about the realities of eating disorders to provide hope, support, and visibility to individuals and loved ones affected by eating disorders. Eating Disorders Awareness Week takes place February 26 through March 3, 2024. In 2022 alone, ‘Beat’ has helped nearly 100,000 people via their helpline and they continuously fight to educate and inform those in government. Efforts include lobbying to keep children away from online content that promotes Eds and remove triggering content for those who are vulnerable.

Newport Healthcare, a nationwide network of evidence-based treatment programs for primary mental health disorders, is celebrating EDAW by reminding the public that early intervention and treatment can greatly improve the chance of successful recovery.

“We know that getting treatment early can be lifesaving and greatly improves the chance of a positive outcome in recovery,” said Becker.

“It’s important during this week of awareness and beyond that people can recognize the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and disordered eating so that they or their loved one can get the help they need.”

Newport Healthcare is an Eating Disorders Awareness Week Collaborator with the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) which reports that almost a quarter of children and adolescents worldwide (22%) show disordered eating or eating behaviours and distorted attitudes towards food, weight, shape, and appearance. NEDA also reports that 9% of the US population – or 28.8 million Americans – will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

Eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate of any mental illness, behind opiate addiction. Sadly, only one in five people with an eating disorder seek treatment from a specialized eating disorders professional.

“Newport Healthcare is uniquely positioned to support clients with mental health challenges and eating disorders or disordered eating,” said Kara Becker, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified eating disorders specialist, and National Director of Eating Disorder Programs for Newport Healthcare. “Our primary mental health focus allows our clinicians to do the deeper trauma work while providing nutrition education and support, which is the critical component for so many of our clients and families.”

Newport Healthcare, NEDA and Beat are among hundreds of organizations battling to spread awareness about the lethal disease.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, contact the beat helpline at 0808 801 0677 in England.

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