From February 26 to March 4, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week took place across America. The week aims to break the cycle of silence and guilt that envelops individuals affected by an eating disorder, and to increase awareness of these serious disorders. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, yet the majority of individuals affected by an eating disorder do not discuss their struggle, and do not get help as a result. This is why the theme for the 2017 Eating Disorder Awareness Week was "It's Time To Talk About It". Silence may lead to dire consequences.
Eating disorders are both serious and life-threatening. Most people affected by an eating disorder require professional treatment, before it is too late to recover. Thirty million Americans will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their life, which may have serious consequences. Eventually, the human body will slow down its essential functions, which leads to a slow heart rate, increased risk of heart failure, brittle bones, muscle loss, kidney failure, severe dehydration, fainting, and weakness overall. If the symptoms continue, the individual will die. Individuals in their late teens and early twenties who suffer from an eating disorder are twelve times more likely to die than from any other cause of mortality. With such serious consequences, it is important to know how to spot the signs of an eating disorder, and learn how to encourage an individual to seek help. Individuals affected often struggle to come forward and get help on their own, so it is essential to encourage those who are having difficulty in doing so.
Therefore, the awareness that National Eating Disorder Week strives to increase can prove to be very essential in saving a life. These disorders are often kept quiet, which is the opposite of what these individuals require in order to recover. If you have a friend or family member you suspect is struggling with an eating disorder, It's Time To Talk About It.