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Everybody Knows Somebody

Everybody Knows Somebody: This week, Feb. 24 through March 2, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Eating disorders are among the most challenging mental illnesses and are serious, life-threatening nedaweek3conditions. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is launching its 26th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week), Feb. 24 - March 2, in an annual campaign to bring public attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families.

During NEDAwareness Week, thousands of people join together in communities across the country, hosting events to raise awareness about body image and bring national attention to the severity of eating disorders, which are bio-psycho-social illnesses with potentially devastating, sometimes life-threatening, consequences. While there is hope and recovery is possible – particularly with early intervention – many people suffer from the long-term effects of these illnesses.

“Eating disorders is one of the most fatal mental illnesses there is, because those who binge and purge suffer from electrolytes abnormalities that can lead to heart damage and Cardiac arrhythmia, which can be fatal,” explained Monarch’s Medical Director Dr. Robert McHale, an award-winning psychiatrist who works with people of all ages with mental illness and substance use disorders. But people who seek help and the proper treatment can recover. It’s one of the conditions that really needs to be coordinated between a psychiatrist, pediatrician and/or a family physician. Communications between those professionals is vital and early intervention is the key.”

“Everybody Knows Somebody” is this year’s theme because it is often true that many lives are impacted by a friend or a loved one who has been affected by the condition. Affecting one in 20 people during their lifetime, eating disorders frequently occur in people with other mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse issues and as with other mental illnesses, early identification and early intervention are keys to recovery. Approximately 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).

Additionally, four out of 10 Americans either suffered or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder. This effort is important because it is also designed to help reduce the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment resources. The impact of increased outreach efforts leads to a greater chance of people seeking out resources and help for an eating disorder, which ultimately saves lives.

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