Bethany Kregiel, LMHC
Eating Disorder Awareness Week
Eating Disorder Awareness Week kicks off today, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of this subset of mental health disorders. While there are countless important facts about eating disorders, here are a few that are particularly salient to awareness on this issue:
Eating disorders can affect anyone. Literally, anyone. The longstanding stereotype depicts young, white, cisgender, thin women as the sole sufferers from eating disorders. However, eating disorders do not discriminate, and individuals from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, as well as cisgender men, suffer from eating disorders as well. This fact is especially important to keep in mind, as folks from marginalized communities often are not diagnosed with or treated for eating disorders because of this stereotype.
For many people, eating disorders are a coping mechanism for something deeper. Many people who have an eating disorder develop it in response to trauma or to cope with anxiety or depression. A huge part of eating disorder recovery requires understanding the deeper issue and developing other, healthier ways to cope so that letting go of the eating disorder feels more manageable.
Recovery is possible. I’ve worked for years with people across the spectrum of eating disorder recovery, and while every journey has been different, there are several tenants that serve to promote recovery. It is important to have a full treatment team. This includes a therapist and a nutritionist who specialize in eating disorders, as well as a psychiatrist who can find the right medication and a PCP who can monitor health issues that may result from an eating disorder. Beyond the treatment team alone, it is important for the client to be motivated for, or at least open to, the idea of recovery.
Here are additional resources for further information about eating disorders:
National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA): https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
Multi-service Eating Disorder Association (MEDA): https://www.medainc.org/
Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.
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