Raising awareness about eating disorders is essential

eating disorder awareness weekEating disorders bulimia and anorexia nervosa are widely renowned as common yet secretive conditions that can lead to sufferers isolating themselves from friends or members of the family.

But the launch of a national campaign is aiming to reverse this by spreading the word about such illnesses among individuals of all ages to teach people the signs to look out for if they are worried about the eating habits of a loved one or relative.

Running between February 11th and 17th, Eating Disorders Awareness Week is aiming to raise understanding on the severity of mental illnesses concerning food, while challenging existing stereotypes and stigmas in a bid to help those in need.

Campaigners have urged individuals to engage with the programme by getting together with colleagues, friends and family to raise money for the Beat eating disorder charity and help support those people who are affected by bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

Although it can be argued there is still a long way to go to improve the treatment given to individuals living with this type of illness, it is certainly more common to hear about the problems - suggesting more is being done to provide support.

Many high profile celebrities have previously spoken out about their battles with eating disorders too, which could help young individuals realise that they have an issue with food and need to seek professional help.

One person in the world of showbusiness who has done exactly that is Demi Lovato, who recently told Cosmopolitan magazine about her struggle with eating disorders.

She said: "I was about 12 or 13 when I developed my eating disorder, and at that time nobody in the public eye talked about their body issues.

"I feel that if someone had admitted they had a problem, then I wouldn't have gone down that route myself … That's my goal in talking about my problems: I want to be the person for other girls that I needed to admire when I was looking for help and strength."

The starlet said she found most of her strength when she learned to accept who she is, regardless of her body shape and also found it was okay to ask for help with her drug and alcohol problems.

"It's OK to love your body the way it is," the now 20-year-old told the publication. "And it's OK to reach out for help if you have drug and alcohol problems, or if you're self-harming or being bullied."

Individuals who want to get involved with Eating Disorders Awareness Week have been invited to engage with the campaign's 'Sock it to eating disorders' theme by organising a silly socks day at their place of employment or taking part in a sponsored event.

Alternatively, fundraisers could knit, crochet or create their own woolly footwear and sell them to friends and family as a means of raising money for the worthy cause.

Getting involved in the campaign by simply donating a little extra change to Beat is enough to ensure the dangers of eating disorders remain at the forefront of people's minds and allow individuals to provide support if anyone they know is affected.

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