I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard that anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. I was sitting in one of my graduate program classes, working on obtaining my master’s degree in mental health counseling, and this statistic awakened me to the stark reality of the danger of eating disorders. A reality that impacted me not just on paper, but in relationships with people I cared about deeply. People I love have suffered with eating disorders. I made a decision that day to invest my time, energy, and resources to impart hope and help facilitate healing to those who suffer with eating disorders, and those who love them.  

That was 12 years ago. I still work in the eating disorders treatment field, and as long as there is a need for compassionate, competent care, I always will. I believe I am in for life. We have a come a long way, but we still have far to go. There are still so many people who need help.  Millions of people every year suffer from eating disorders, and 30 million people at some point in their lifetime, will be impacted. Young people are at risk too. It is the third most common chronic illness among in adolescents, and half a million teenagers struggle with eating disorders or disordered eating; studies show that now children as young as 7 years old are affected. 
 

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 21-27
 

3 Minutes Can Save a Life. Get Screened. Get Help. Get Healthy.
 

The inception of an eating disorder is often hidden in a culturally acceptable, and even encouraged behavior, such as a diet, exercise program, or “healthier” way of eating. Diets are actually the number one gateway behavior to an eating disorder.  For many, a diet is non-threatening, but for those who are genetically or psychologically predisposed to disordered eating patterns, something as seemingly benign as a mainstream diet can quickly turn into a life-threatening illness. 
 

If you suspect that you, or someone you love may suffer from an eating disorder, you can take a free, three-minute confidential online screening: http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/NEDA
 

Eating disorders are complex illnesses and there is no way I can begin to scratch the surface of what to look for, or how to know if you, or a loved one is in need of professional help. The best things to do is access information. Knowledge is the beginning of understanding and that will lead you down the right path – a path toward hope and health. To find out more about eating disorders, and treatment, there are two websites I highly recommend:
 

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/  (National Eating Disorders Association)
 

https://www.eatingrecoverycenter.com/  (Eating Recovery Center)
 

Whatever your reason for reading my blog post this month, I am glad you found me. I am here to help. We are all passionate about something. Bringing people hope is what gets me out of bed in the morning. If an eating disorder has affected your life in some way, chances are you have forgotten what you are passionate about; eating disorders have a way of robbing us of what’s important. 
 

Hope whispers, rekindle your passion.
 

You can reconnect with your passion and take your life back. It’s never too late. It starts now and it only take three minutes – take the screening, http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/NEDA