National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

February 26-March 3, 2024.

Elizabeth Young, M.S., Pharm.D., CHWC
Clinical Intern


The National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAW) is from February 26 through March 3 this year ( In 2024, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) will be celebrating 40 years of NEDAW (Dennis, 2023). This year’s NEDAW theme is “Get in the Know.”

In that spirit, it’s valuable to foster knowledge and understanding of disordered eating and raise awareness. Ten percent of Americans will experience this concern at some time in their lives and the prevalence of disordered eating is rising (NEDA, n.d.). Disordered eating does not discriminate. It can affect anyone at any age, and significantly impact one’s quality of life and, if diagnosed as a serious eating disorder, can result in hospitalization or even death. The impact on families and loved ones can be significant. NEDA provides information on many disordered eating patterns. Here are a few common ones.

Anorexia: Weight loss due to restricting food intake often combined with other ways of preventing weight gain

Bulimia: Binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting

Binge Eating: Frequent episodes of eating much more food than would be expected without being able to control it often followed by feelings of remorse

Orthorexia: A fixation on eating healthy that impairs daily functioning or results in health consequences

All of these patterns of disordered eating can result in serious health and wellness consequences if they are severe and go on for a long time without help. There are other types of disordered eating like eating things that are not food. Related activities can be exercising too much or chronically consuming laxatives hoping to offset the calories one has consumed. Patterns of disordered eating can be combined in some individuals.


There is no one cause of disordered eating. It is the result of a complex interplay of life experiences and ways of coping.

From a biological perspective, those who experience disordered eating may have a close relative who also has similar challenges. Psychologically, disordered eating can be a way of coping with other mental health concerns or perceptions of having a lack of control over one’s life. Frequently, disordered eating is experienced in those who would describe themselves as perfectionists. There are also social factors at play such as diet culture, stigma related to being overweight, and bullying.

Recognizing when a friend or loved one is engaging in disordered eating can be challenging. It can also be hard to talk to them about it. If you notice some of the following, compassionately inquiring about it with your friend or loved one and offering to help may break the pattern they are in and motivate them to seek help.


  • Refusing to eat
  • Vomiting after eating
  • Taking laxatives chronically
  • Exercising excessively, engaging in fad diets, and being exceptionally concerned with body image or weight
  • Appearing to have unexplained fluctuations in weight
  • Dressing to hide weight loss or hide what they are doing with food and explaining away the concerns
  • Talking about or displaying seemingly compulsive attention to food and food groups
  • Appearing to be chronically unwell physically (e.g., lack of sleep, dizziness, stomach aches, weakness, dry skin, damaged teeth)


If you or a friend or loved one suspect disordered eating may be happening, there is help. Treatment combines education about nutrition and the importance of healthy eating, addressing any medical needs that might be present, and counseling. There are multiple counseling strategies that each address the unique needs of clients experiencing disordered eating.

We are here to help you!

Call our admin team at 847-854-4333 or email them at to schedule an appointment with one of us.


Other resources:

National Alliance for Eating Disorders Helpline: 1 (866) 662-1235
Monday-Friday, 9am-7pm ET

F.E.A.S.T provides support and education resources to parents and caregivers of loved ones impacted by eating disorders.


Dennis, A. (2023, February 19). Welcome to the 39th Eating Disorders Awareness Week! National Eating Disorders Association Blog.

National Eating Disorders Association. (n.d.).