NEDA Week – Let’s Break the Silence About Eating Disorders

by Timberline Knolls Staff

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Breaking the silence is one of the best antidotes to the shame and isolation of diseases like eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, and mood disorders. Denial, minimization, secrecy and shame are some of the biggest obstacles to recovery from these deadly illnesses.

That’s why everyone at Timberline Knolls takes time out each year to celebrate National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, an annual event organized by the National Eating Disorders Association. We will be hosting a recovery speaker at the opening ceremony, sharing a body image art exhibit created by TK residents, offering an all campus yoga activity, among other activities to celebrate the week.

This year’s theme, Everybody Knows Somebody, is especially important for those of us in the treatment community, as well as for the media and members of the public.

Researchers estimate more than 10 million people in the US may be suffering with symptoms of an eating disorder.

How can each of us help raise awareness?

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms and warning signs of eating disorders. Many of us are intimately aware of the signs if we are ourselves in recovery or if a loved one is struggling with or has recovered from an eating disorder. We have pages on our website that discuss these topics in detail:

Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder thrive on silence. We frequently say “our secrets keep us sick” and in the case of eating disorders they even kill. Notice something this week and speak to what you’re seeing.

NEDAwareness Week is also an important time for those of us in the treatment community to recognize and celebrate all the men and women who are brave enough to share their experience, strength and hope with recovering from eating disorders. Former Miss America Kirsten Haglund, a member of our team at TK, is a great example.

Each story of struggle, hope, pain, perseverance and recovery is an inspiration to all of us committed to spreading the message that eating disorders do not have to be fatal; treatment is effective, and lifelong recovery is possible.

NEDA week is important beyond just making this disease speakable–it offers a critical opportunity to raise awareness for families, friends, sufferers and might just make the difference in moving them towards action. The decision to get help is one that transforms lives, and in many cases literally saves lives.

I’m excited for TK’s new blog to contribute to efforts to improve awareness of eating disorders, to distribute accurate information about these illnesses, to facilitate access to treatment and to carry the message of hope and recovery to anyone still suffering.

Start a conversation this week; you never know who you may be helping. See something. Say something. You might be saving a life.

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