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Come as You Are – National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

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If the public gets involved in this awareness week while sufferers speak out about their struggles, the idea of eating disorders can become less stigmatized.

Each year the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) holds a National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year, the theme, which comes from the popular Nirvana song, “come as you are”, promotes the goal of unifying the eating disorder community. Next week from February 25 – March 3, NEDA is inviting everyone who struggles with any kind of eating disorder to speak out, share their experience, and connect with others in order to spread the message that everyone’s story is important and valid.

With the media and social influencers playing such a strong role in today’s society, it is no wonder that so many young people suffer from an eating disorder. They are under pressure to look as thin and beautiful as the models they see on Instagram do. The media has put an idea in our heads that only one body type is beautiful, and this idea is detrimental to our youth because it isn’t realistic.

It is estimated that 30 million people suffer from an eating disorder in the USA alone. Many people are afraid to speak up about their eating disorder due to embarrassment or confusion as eating disorders can be difficult to diagnose and treat. After all, people have to eat to survive! In fact, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental health issue – they are also 56 times more likely to attempt suicide than those who do not suffer from anorexia.

Not only are eating disorders dangerous alone, but alcoholism and addiction are four times more likely to occur among people with eating disorders, as drugs and alcohol can help decrease appetite, lose weight, and cope with emotions.

Pssst, while you're here...

Though treatment has a high rate of success for those suffering from an eating disorder, only 1 in 10 sufferers will seek it. If the public gets involved in this awareness week while sufferers speak out about their struggles, the idea of eating disorders can become less stigmatized. The more comfortable the public feels in talking about an eating disorder instead of shaming those that suffer, the more people may feel safe in asking for help.

For those who struggle with an eating disorder, such as a food addiction, body dysmorphia, anorexia, or bulimia, NEDA wants you to know that wherever you are at in your journey, it is okay. They want you to share your stories to that a conversation can be started among communities that struggle and aren’t traditionally recognized. NEDA wants you to “come as you are, not as you think you should be.” They want you to know that every body type is beautiful, not just the ones you see on Instagram. By getting involved, you can become a part of the movement that is dedicated to addressing toxic societal pressures and accepting all different kinds of bodies.

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