February 24-March 2 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and the theme this year is “Everybody Knows Somebody.”
Twenty million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life. These are serious illnesses, not lifestyle choices, and they can seriously disrupt daily activities, and can be life-threatening. They can affect anyone, regardless of gender, race, age, or socioeconomic status.
Individuals suffering from an eating disorder may have recently experienced dramatic weight loss, but not necessarily. What is sometimes more noticeable is that they may be significantly pre-occupied with weight, food, and body shape, and they may follow a rigid, intense exercise regimen. They may have become depressed and moody, and are isolating themselves from their usual social activities, including mealtimes. While they might not meet specific criteria for an eating disorder, they may have “disordered eating” patterns, which, left unchecked, may develop into a serious eating disorder.
Does that sound like anyone you know?
Whether you are personally affected or are supporting a friend, it is important to get the help and support needed when dealing with an eating disorder. This often includes a physician, a counselor or therapist, and a nutritionist. Ithaca College offers services in an individualized and confidential setting. For immediate concerns, you can call Hammond Health at 274-3177, CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) at 274-3136, or the nutritionist Cathy Saloff-Coste at 277-2053.
Check back in on Wednesday for more information on helping a friend with an eating disorder.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Nancy Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 274-3136. We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.