In the United States, this week is “National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.”
Statistics show that 30 million Americans will be affected by some kind of eating disorder at some time in their lives. These disorders, often casually dismissed, are much more serious and pervasive than many people realize. Eating disorders affect both thin and heavy people, men and women, young and old. The most common disorders are anorexia (nervosa) and bulimia. A lesser-known but equally-difficult disorder is orthorexia: an obsessive way of eating according to very strict rules. The various symptoms associated with each disorder can often overlap. Part of the treatment of these disorders is also to identify their emotional and psychological source – with clinical depression often being a cause or partner of eating disorders.
The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, sponsored by a number of organizations and clinics, is to bring these illnesses to greater public awareness and make professional treatment more available to sufferers.