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Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Understanding Eating Disorders in Young People

This week (26th Feb- 3rd March) is Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Living with an eating disorder, or supporting someone who is, can be a challenging journey filled with many questions and emotions. Whether you're directly affected by an eating disorder or are in a supportive role, here's a guide to help you understand more about these conditions and where to find support.


Understanding Eating Disorders


Eating disorders, including Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder (BED), and others, are complex mental health conditions that can affect anyone regardless of race, gender and age. They can have serious physical and psychological consequences

but are treatable with the right approach and support.


Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the signs of an eating disorder early is crucial to getting the right support

and starting the journey to recovery. It is important to remember that you cannot always tell

if someone is struggling with an eating disorder just by the way they look.


Symptoms vary from person to person and will depend on the condition they have,

but can include:

  • Significant weight loss or gain.

  • Distorted view of your body image e.g. seeing yourself as bigger than you are (known as body dysmorphia)

  • Changes in eating habits, such as eating in secret or avoiding meals.

  • Frequent bathroom trips after meals (may be indicative of purging).

  • Social withdrawal and mood changes around settings that involve food.

The Influence of Social Media and Celebrities

In today's digital age, social media plays a significant role in shaping our perceptions

of beauty and body image. The pressure to conform to unrealistic standards set by celebrities and influencers can lead to feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. It's crucial

to remember that these images are often highly edited and do not always reflect reality.


Tips for Navigating Social Media:

Follow accounts that promote body positivity and self-love.

Avoid accounts that encourage restrictive eating, excessive exercise or calorie counting

Limit your exposure to content that triggers negative emotions.

Engage in activities that boost your self-esteem and self-worth.


Seeking Help

The first step towards recovery is acknowledging the need for help. If you're struggling, know that it's okay to reach out. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a trusted individual, whether a family member, friend, or healthcare professional, can open the door to support and treatment.


For Those Supporting Someone

If you're supporting someone with an eating disorder, you might be concerned about saying the wrong thing, however, early intervention is key. Educate yourself about their condition. Approach them with empathy, listen without judgment, and encourage them to seek professional help. Remember, your support can make a significant difference in their recovery journey.


Resources and Support

There are numerous resources available for both individuals experiencing eating disorders and their supporters. Organizations like B.E.A.T offer a wealth of information, including downloadable resources, helplines, and guidance on getting support. These resources can be invaluable in understanding eating disorders, finding treatment options, and connecting with a supportive community.



Navigating the complexities of eating disorders requires patience, understanding,

and the right support and/or treatments. Whether you're experiencing an eating disorder

or supporting someone who is, remember that recovery is possible, and help is available.

For more detailed resources and support, visit the B.E.A.T website and explore their comprehensive guides and helplines designed to assist individuals and families affected

by eating disorders.


Join our #Adults4YoungMinds Community


To raise awareness about Eating Disorders in young people, we are hosting a free workshop in collaboration with B.E.A.T- the leading UK charity on Eating Disorders:


Understanding Eating Disorders in Young People : Insights from Two Lived Experienced Volunteers


This webinar is an opportunity to enhance your understanding of eating disorders and how to support those affected, making it a vital event for parents/guardians, teachers and youth professionals.


Learn more about the event and join us on 7th March 2024 at 6pm GMT





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