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This week is Eating Disorders Awareness week. Beat, the UK's eating disorder charity estimate that around 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder. Eating Disorders Awareness Week is here to help put the stories of how people are affected in the spotlight, standing together to encourage anyone affected by an eating disorder to find the support that they need.

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses. An eating disorder is when you have an unhealthy attitude to food, which can take over your life and make you ill. It can involve eating too much or too little, or becoming obsessed with your weight and body shape. But there are treatments that can help, and with the right support, you can recover from an eating disorder.

There’s no single cause and people might not have all symptoms for any one eating disorder. Many people are diagnosed with “other specified feeding or eating disorder” (OSFED), which means that their symptoms don’t exactly match what doctors check for to diagnose binge eating disorder, anorexia, or bulimia, but doesn’t mean that it’s not still very serious. It’s also possible for someone’s symptoms, and therefore their diagnosis, to change over time. For example, someone could have anorexia, but their symptoms could later change so that a diagnosis of bulimia would be more appropriate.

If you or someone you love might be suffering with an eating disorder, know that there's help available. Their helpline services provide support and information 365 days a year. Call Beat's Helpline on 0808 801 0677 or 0808 801 0711 for the Youthline.

Feeling inspired? Here’s how you can get involved this Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Sock it to eating disorders
Sock It to Eating Disorders takes place every year during eating disorders awareness week when hundreds of Beat supporters across the country take part in fundraising activities to take a stand against eating disorders. Visit the above link to see how you can get involved.

Tell your story
Too many people don’t get help for their eating disorder because their illness goes unrecognised. By shining a light on the experiences of people whose voices aren’t usually heard, we can begin to change the narrative around eating disorders, to show they do not discriminate and that everyone who gets one deserves fast, high-quality treatment. Do you have a story to tell? Tweet @BeatED using #sockittoeatingdisorders, or email your story to comms@beateatingdisorders.org.uk with the subject line “EDAW 2019”.