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The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. ®
     An Association Dedicated to Alleviating Eating Disorders since 1976

“Accept Yourself….Accept Others”®

   Candlelight Vigil Packet

Dear                   ,

This annual event is meant to raise awareness of eating disorders and promote a positive self-
image through the theme of “Accept Yourself… Accept Others.” It is also a time to remember the
lives lost to these devastating diseases and to emphasize that recovery can be achieved. This
packet will tell you how to organize and publicize your Vigil, along with suggestions for
additional events to educate your community about eating disorders, as well as steps to creating
a successful fundraiser and fundraising ideas.

Any fundraising event you or your group or organization could undertake to benefit ANAD is
greatly appreciated, as we are funded by private donations and all our services are free to
anyone who needs help. One donation can make a world of difference and that difference
lies within you.

Please know that each Vigil is very important and may even be the catalyst for someone to seek
assistance. Whether you hold a one hour Vigil or a week-long series of events, ANAD is very
grateful that you have joined our efforts to promote awareness of eating disorders.

We always enjoy hearing from our Vigil partners. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have
any questions or concerns. Again, thanks so much for your help in making the Vigil a success.


Laura Discipio, LCSW
Executive Director

              National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. ®
                800 E. Diehl, Suite 160 - Naperville, Illinois 60563 • 630-577-1330
                                 Celebrating 35 years 1976-2011
          The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. ®
               An Association Dedicated to Alleviating Eating Disorders since 1976

                   Candlelight Vigil Program
Help light the night and bring eating disorders out of the dark! The National Association of Anorexia
Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. ® is challenging you to help raise funds for The National
Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, by raising awareness about eating disorders,
while hosting an annual candlelight vigil.

The Candlelight Vigil is an inspiring night to commemorate those who have lost their lives and recognize
those who have recovered and survived, while also promoting eating disorder awareness to the general
public. This program allows groups and individuals to host an event in their home-town support eating
disorder awareness, prevention, education and advocacy.

ANAD’s Candlelight Vigil has three goals in mind:
    Increase awareness of eating disorders, body image, media influence, and self-perception
    Increase development of philanthropic endeavors across the country
    Increase fundraising for awareness, prevention, education and advocacy of eating disorders

ANAD’s Candlelight Vigil provides all the materials needed to host a successful candlelight vigil with
simple program guides and resources for everything from how to organize the event, to how to recruit
team members and publicize the event.

For more information about a Candlelight Vigil, call (630) 577-1330 or send us an e-mail
          The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. ®
               An Association Dedicated to Alleviating Eating Disorders since 1976

ANAD CANDLELIGHT VIGIL                                                        PHONE: 630.577.1330
800 E. DIEHL, SUITE 160                                                        FAX: 630. 577.1323
NAPERVILLE, IL 60563                                                        EMAIL: VIGIL@ANAD.ORG

                                VIGIL AGREEMENT

CONTACT PERSON: ____________________________________________________________________

ADDRESS: ________________________________________ CITY: ___________________ STATE: _____

ZIP: _________________ PHONE: ______________________E-MAIL: ___________________________

____ Yes! I/We will sponsor a Candlelight Vigil on [date]: __________

____ Yes! I would like ______ purple ribbons and pledge cards.

_____ Yes! I/We pledge to raise $ __________ to support awareness, education,
advocacy, support, recovery, and prevention of eating disorders through ANAD

____ Please send us ANAD “Accept Yourself, Accept Others”® purple bracelets as a
fundraising opportunity. (Please add $5.00 to your total for shipping)

_____100 bracelets for $100
_____200 bracelets for $175
_____300 bracelets for $275

____________________________                                      ___________________
          Signature                                                         Date
                                     A NA D
        The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. ®
             An Association Dedicated to Alleviating Eating Disorders since 1976

                               RELEASE FORM
    We love your pictures and articles! Please email these to

  I agree to release all pictures, articles and media information from our Candlelight Vigil, for
                                             ANAD’s use.


DATE OF VIGIL:__________________________________________________________________



PHONE: ___________________________ EMAIL: ______________________________________

                            We may print in our quarterly newsletter!

                                           THANK YOU!

            The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. ®
                 800 E. Diehl, Suite 160 - Naperville, Illinois 60563• 630-577-1333
                                   Celebrating 35 years 1976-2011
                    Step I: How to Lead Your Group
A.      Sample Committee Structure

Position                          Role

Candlelight Vigil                Serves as a liaison to ANAD
Event Chair                      Main contact regarding general question/concerns pertaining to on-campus
                                  candlelight vigil events and activities
                                 Runs awareness & advocacy program on campus
                                 Establishes accounting records and a budget
                                 Coordinates fundraisers and events.
                                 Assists all of the officers with day-to-day operations

                                 Serves as the liaison between the club and other student organizations and
Vigil Event                       local businesses
Co-Chair                         Helps coordinate campus awareness days and creates promotional flyers and
                                  banners, works with social media outlets

B.      Managing your committee
             Set goals with specific dates and dollars.
             Ask for regular reports on progress.
             Show that you value your committee’s time.
             Involve each of your committee members.
             Recognize a job well done.

C.      How to Make Your Event Successful
Select a date and time that is best for your event:
     Plan a rain date or secure an indoor rain location if you are having an outdoor event.

Select a location that is attractive and central to your attendees:
     Select a location that is as convenient as possible.

Secure your event location and any permits at least one month in advance:

Recruit participants:
     Ask as many people as you can, including your friends, staff members, and community members you
         may know.
     Everyone can make a difference.

Encourage all participants to:
     Recruit others to participate.
     Ask for sponsor donations face-to-face.
     Ask their family and friends to help them collect donations.
     Bring their donations with them on event day.
                    Step 2: Publicize and Recruit
                                      Spread the Word
   1. Use promotional materials, advertisements and social media to spread the word
      about an upcoming event.

          Ask your friends and community contacts to get involved and
          recruit participants
          Distribute flyers around town and at local businesses
          Create Facebook group/events
          Submit newspaper articles and ads
          Tweet on Twitter
          Add the event to school calendars
          Post flyers on announcement boards

   2. Contact Support Groups

          Reach out to individual groups that may be interested in supporting your ANAD vigil
           or speaking at it.
               o Many cities and states have ANAD support groups, resource people, and
                  treatment facilities. Log-on to > Get Help for support groups,
                  resources & professional speakers, or call for more details 630.577.1330.
          Community service organizations
          Psychology/Sociology/Nutrition groups

   3. Sample Facebook Event Page & Email Blast

                                     ANAD Candlelight Vigil

Please join us for a candlelight vigil to benefit The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and
         Associated Disorders, Inc. ® and help us bring eating disorders out of the dark.

                                 [date] at [time] at [location]
 for an inspiring night to commemorate those who have lost their lives and recognize those who
         have recovered and survived, while also promoting eating disorder awareness.

   Get some friends together and learn more about EDs and support an important cause. Come
listen to speakers, hear great music and participate in candle lighting. [dollar amount] donation
                         at the door or pledge to raise money for ANAD!

             To sign up, please contact [committee member] at [email or phone #]
                  For more information, please contact [event chair] at [email].
            Step 3: Raise Awareness All Year Long
                  Fundraising & Awareness Campaign Overview

While awareness is a key goal of the Candlelight Vigil, raising funds for eating disorders is just as
important. Here are some ways you can raise funds to fight eating disorders.

      Buy/sell group/event T-shirts
       Create your own chapter t-shirt for eating disorder awareness or for your candlelight
       vigil. You can also seek donations from family, friends, neighbors and local businesses.

      Buy/sell ANAD bracelets & purple awareness ribbons
       Order ANAD bracelets and purple awareness ribbons and sell them on campus. You can
       also purchase and wear these to build awareness.

      Participate in Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Sunday, February 21st through
       Saturday, March 1st)
       Check the ANAD website for activities to participate in and bring to your campus.

      Plan an Auction or Raffle
       Ask local businesses to donate spa services, gift certificates, or goods to auction or raffle
       off in support of ANAD.

      Organize a Walk-a-Thon or Run for ANAD
       Organize a day in which individuals can raise money and awareness by participating in 5
       kilometers or a 1 mile race or walk-a-thon dedicated to supporting eating disorders. You
       can also seek donations from family, friends, neighbors and local businesses.

      Plan a Picnic and Games Day
       Charge a small cover fee and grill out in a local park. Plan a free-throw contest, three
       legged race, karaoke, and other fun events. If weather is an issue, reserve your local gym
       or events center and order sandwiches!

      Plan a Soccer Game or Other Sport Event & Challenge another Sorority
       Host a yearly soccer tournament or other sport events with raffle prizes and provide
       drinks and pizza.

      “Loose Change” Jar
       Create a “loose change” jar that people can throw their spare change into. You would be
       surprised how quickly this can add up! Remember that even the smallest contributions to
       ANAD are deeply appreciated and will help out our organization greatly. Don’t forget to
       place the jar in a visible location that will remind people to contribute daily but also be
       sure that the jar is in a safe place.

      Free Yoga/Aerobics Class
    There can be a basket or jar where students, parents, etc. can put in donations in support
    of ANAD. You may also provide information regarding physical fitness and healthy eating

   All Shapes & Sizes Fashion Show
    Any student would be able to participate in this event. This would then promote the
    endorsement of a wide variety of sizes, shapes and types in order to combat restrictive
    ideals in the media and in the fashion industry. You can charge a small cover fee to attend
    this event.

   Movie Night
    Show a film that pertains to eating disorders/body image (i.e. Real Women Have Curves)
    and provide concessions such as popcorn and refreshments. After the film, individuals can
    be part of a discussion to provide their own opinions of the film and the message that it
    sends regarding body image/beauty ideals/eating disorders. You can charge a small
    cover fee to attend this event

   Bowl-a-thon
    This event would promote physical activity and wellness. People can pay to participate in
    this activity and proceeds would then go to ANAD.

   Karaoke Night
    Individuals can sing songs that are inspirational and empowering and that provide a
    positive message of hope and encouragement in support of ANAD. Some suggestions for
    songs can be found in this packet under Music.

   Art Show
    Whether you're exhibiting your own artwork or someone else's, setting up an art
    exhibition can be a creative, fulfilling endeavor to raise awareness and funds.

   Concert/Battle of the Bands
    A battle of the bands can bring members of your community together, promote local music
    and, in some cases, raise money for charity.

   Carwash
    If you’ve done your marketing correctly, have a good location and sold tickets/pledges,
    you will have unlimited cars to wash. Now you must wash them efficiently. Remember, the
    more cars you wash, the more money you will make for your group. Your layout will
    change from location to location.

   Real Men Can Cook
    One of the purposes of the Real Men Can Cook event is to raise funds to reduce health
    risks due to poor diet, inactivity and improper food handling. Men come and cook their
    special recipe and then serve it while wearing special event t-shirts to show their support
    for eating disorder awareness!

   Bags/Cornhole Tournament
    When you hold a cornhole tournament you need 12 people. This number of people is
    ideal so the scores and games turn out properly. You will need to have three cornhole
    boards and six sets of cornhole bags to play an individual tournament.
                           How to Collect Donations

There are several ways you can collect donations. Here are our recommendations:

1. Online Fundraising: Direct your donors to and ask them to
include your organization name, location and ANAD Candlelight Vigil as their “Donation

2. Check: Ask your donors to make checks payable to ANAD.

3. Cash: Before sending in your donation from bracelet, ribbon, or t-shirt sales, convert all cash to
check or money order to protect against loss in the mail.

               **When you have collected all donations, please complete the
     “Candlelight Vigil Fundraising Summary Form” mail it along with the total amount
                                      contributed to:

                                      Attn: Candlelight Vigil
                                      800 E. Diehl, Suite 160
                                       Naperville, IL 60563
           Letter Writing Campaigns to Friends and Family

Write a personalized letter and send to friends and family. Some tips for letter writing:
    Keep your letter brief
    State your own commitment to the ANAD cause—wellness, self-esteem, advocacy
    Mention your specific fundraising event
    Explain why donating is important and where their money will go: ANAD!
    Ask for a specific donation amount/goal
    Outline ways your donors can get their money to you and your organization
    Thank your donor
    Sign your letter and address your envelope by hand 


                    **If you mail a letter, be sure to include a self-addressed envelope.**

Dear [Name],

This year, I'm participating in the Candlelight Vigil on [Event Date]. Please help me meet my
fundraising goal of [Goal] by sponsoring me. You'll feel confident in knowing that your generous
gift is being used efficiently and effectively: contributions go directly toward supporting
educational programs for the prevention and eating disorders. And, your gift is tax-deductible.
Making a donation is easy. You can donate online at
and enter [our organization name] as a donation message.

You can also send a donation in cash or by check payable to ANAD at any time before
[Event Date] in the envelope I have included. Any amount you can donate is greatly appreciated!

Donating to ANAD Candlelight Vigil is such a simple and effective way for you to
show your support for this important cause. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of
those who are celebrating recovery or are still fighting against an eating disorder.
Once again, thank you for supporting the mission of ANAD. For more information, please log-on
to the ANAD website.

All the Best,
[Enter your name here]
                      Sample Letter to Businesses
          ** If you mail a letter, be sure to include a self-addressed envelope with your letter**

Dear [Enter vendor’s company name here] Partners:

My organization, [Enter your organization name here], has made a commitment to The National
Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. ® (ANAD), Candlelight Vigil. I am
writing to ask for your help and to enlist your support for this most worthwhile event.

Eating disorders are rampant in our society, yet few states in the nation have adequate programs
or services to combat anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating. Only a small number of schools
and colleges have programs to educate our youth about the dangers of eating disorders.

Although it is safe to say that the term “eating disorder” is recognized by contemporary society,
this has not always been the case. Eating disorders are a relatively recent development within our
modern society. Back in the 1970’s the term eating disorder did not exist in the way that we
recognize it today. Anorexia Nervosa was so rare that there were no more than 2000 reported
cases in the entire United States. Forty years later, eating disorders affect seven to ten million
women, and approximately one million men in the US alone. The good news is that by raising
awareness of eating disorders, more individuals are identified and have the opportunity to seek

I will be participating in the Candlelight Vigil [Enter date here] at [Enter location here]
with a large group of students and people from other local companies and organizations.
Collectively, our team would like to raise more than [Enter your goal here] for eating disorder
awareness, prevention, education, and advocacy programs.

I would appreciate a donation of [Enter amount here] from you, or whatever your budget
allows. Your charitable contribution is 100 percent tax deductible. Please let me know if you will
be making a donation, and send your check, made payable to ANAD.

Your contribution will enable ANAD to continue to raise awareness of eating disorders and
support those who are still fighting.

[Enter your name here]
                Candlelight Vigil
            Fundraising Summary Form

College or University____________________________________________________

Event Chair or Leader __________________________________________________


Group Name (if applicable) ______________________________________________



Date of Event _____________________ Number of Participants________________

Amount Enclosed $____________________

Please return this completed form as soon after your Candlelight Vigil event as possible. Sponsors
or donors who write checks to support your event should make them payable to ANAD.

Remember to convert any cash received into a cashier’s check or money order that is made
payable to The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. ®

Never send cash in the mail. If any checks have been made out to you, one of your participants
or your organization, they should be endorsed and converted along with the cash. (Cashier’s
checks or money orders can be purchased at a bank or post office.)

                        Mail this form and total amount contributed to:

                                     Attn: Candlelight Vigil
                                     800 E. Diehl, Suite 160
                                      Naperville, IL 60563
                       Step 4: Execute Vigil
                        Sample Event Planning Timeline

6 months before the event
    Secure committee
    Set date and reserve site
    Recruit volunteers

4 months before event
    Secure speakers, musicians, and other motivational/inspirational/educational
     “entertainment”—if you need help finding a speaker, contact ANAD
    If you cannot find a speaker, consider using a movie, clip, or webcast—
     consult “Candlelight Vigil Program Ideas” list.
    Promote event via Facebook, posters/flyers, advertisements, newsletters

2 months before event
    Confirm sponsors and amount of food and beverages
    Order t-shirts & bracelets to sell at the event for profit

1– 2 weeks before event
    Confirm volunteers (greeters, cashbox, refreshments, set-up, clean-up, etc.)
    Confirm food/beverage
    Confirm participants
    Confirm site and equipment
    Send a final reminder to your campus on Facebook and through e-mails

Within one week after event
   Thank donors
   Thank participants
                                        SAMPLE PROGRAM
                                               6:00 – 6:30
                                       Music as people are arriving

                                              6:30 – 6:35
                                        Welcome and Introduction

                                              6:35 – 7:30
                                        Speaker(s) and Reflections

                                              7:30 – 7:45
                                          Candlelight Ceremony

                                             Candle Lighting
                                            Moment of Silence

                                               7:45 – 7:50
                                          Reading of the Pledge*

                                               7:50 – 8:10
                                             Closing Remarks
                                            Donation Reminder

Please note: This is YOUR vigil. You can plan it any way you like. We do ask that the Pledge be read. You
may or may not want to give out a simple program. Sometimes people like to have a question and answer
period which includes personal stories or questions. The chairperson should read the pledge, lead the candle-
lighting and moment of silence/prayer.

Once again, ANAD thanks you for supporting this worthy cause. Please know that we are here to
help you if you need suggestions or have any questions. After the Vigil, we hope you will share your
thoughts with us.
                   Candlelight Vigil Program Ideas

       Possible Movie/Video Clips to Include:

                 Dying to Be Thin: NOVA documentary (found on Nova online
         . People from all walks
                  of life who have eating disorders. Athletes, students, daughters etc. sharing
                  experiences with the illness. Also takes a look into research being done for
                  possible treatments of these diseases.

                 Hunger Point: based on the novel by Jillian Medoff, a mother forces her
                  daughters to adhere to strict dieting and exercise schedules. The girls get
                  mocked for having any extra weight which forces the daughters into self
                  harming habits.

                 Sharing the Secret: Trying to become perfect, a girl begins to struggle with

Possible Music to Include:
          Perfect-P!nk ( music video also strongly
           applies to body image and accepting yourself
          Beautiful-Bethany Dillon (
          Who Says- Selena Gomez (
          Just Fine- Mary J Blige (
          So Small- Carrie Underwood (
          You’re a God- Vertical Horizon (
          Extraordinary- Liz Phair (
          Chances- Five For Fighting (
          Just the way you are- Bruno Mars (
          Stand- Rascal Flatts (
          Superwoman- Alicia Keys (
          Let Love in- Goo Goo Dolls (
          Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful- Kellie Pickler
          Beautiful Flower – India Arie (
          Defying Gravity-Wicked, The Musical (
                            The ANAD Pledge ®
               To be read during the Candlelight Vigil Ceremony
                                 I will accept myself as I am.

My uniqueness is a badge of honor, something to be proud of. There is no one in the world quite
               like me, and I will strive to develop my special skills and abilities.

                               I will accept others as they are.

 Each person is special and different. I will to try to learn from these differences rather than be
                                          critical of them.

              I will support diversity and freedom of expression in the way
                                people think, look and live.

There is no single standard of “rightness;” rather we live in a world of individuals, each of whom
       provides a different answer. Through our differences humanity continues to evolve.

                        I will not tolerate physical or mental abuse.

There is NEVER a reason for people to hurt other people, and I will do my utmost to prevent such
           abuse. We are all equal and deserve the same thoughtful consideration.

           I will actively work to change media programming and advertising
                         that exploits or demeans the human body.

    Setting standards of physical “perfection” is harmful to everybody. The media needs to
          understand that real human beauty lies in our differences, not our similarities.

             I will work to improve the lives of individuals, communities and
                                    the environment.

 As a responsible member of society, I understand that the more good I do for the people and
 places around me, the better off everyone will be. We need to think not only of today, but of
                              tomorrow and our children’s future.

        I will support good health through proper nutrition, regular exercise and
                                     adequate sleep.

    Good health enables us to achieve success in life—at work, at home and in our personal

Who is ANAD?
   Since 1976 The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. ®
       (ANAD) has been dedicated to the prevention and alleviation of eating disorders by providing
       many multi-faceted programs for the entire eating disorder community.

      ANAD was the nation’s first non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families
       suffering from eating disorders.

How does ANAD work to accomplish their mission?
    ANAD believes that early detection of eating disorders save lives therefore, ANAD works to
      educate parents, teachers, families and communities about the dangers through a variety of
      mediums including our website, newsletter, and educational outreach events & programs.

      Since the very beginning ANAD’s helpline has provided support and information to thousands of
       people and families affected by anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

      Through ANAD’s website, all individuals suffering from eating disorders, in recovery, and friends
       and family can participate in our online forum. The website also hosts invaluable information
       about the disorders, treatment, and educational materials. Included on our website, is a referral
       list that includes therapists, inpatient and outpatient programs in the U.S. and Canada.

      ANAD also assists in the formation of self-help groups so that victims and their families may
       meet others with similar problems. There are now groups and resources in most states.

      ANAD distributes information about eating disorders to health care professionals and interested
       people to inform them about the various aspects of eating disorders.

      While most schools have extensive alcohol/drug education programs, very few offer eating
       disorders education or prevention programs. ANAD takes an active role in educating school
       personnel, parents and students about understanding and preventing eating disorders.

      Libraries, schools, universities and other institutions use ANAD as a resource center. Thousands
       of talks, workshops and seminars on understanding and preventing eating disorders are made
       each year by ANAD group leaders, trained volunteers and staff.

      ANAD receives no federal funding and depends on the generosity of individual donors and
       corporations to support our life-saving mission.
                                   ABOUT EATING DISORDERS
A History of Eating Disorders
Although the term “eating disorder” is easily recognized in contemporary society, eating disorders are not a
recent development by any means. Eating disorders can be traced back hundreds of years as many ancient
texts depict the eating disorders we see today. But, even as late as the 1970’s the term eating disorder did
not exist in the way that we recognize it today. Anorexia Nervosa was so rare that there were no more than
2000 reported cases in the entire United States. Forty years later, eating disorders affect seven to ten million
women, and approximately one million men in the US alone. The good news is that by raising awareness of
eating disorders, more individuals are identified and have the opportunity to seek help.

What is an Eating Disorder?
You may have heard the terms anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, but what is an eating disorder,
really? It is not simply a body weight, a percentage of fat, or a desire to be skinny. It is an improper
relationship with food characterized by obsessive thoughts and habits causing psychological distress. No one
knows the exact causes of eating disorders, but in general, eating disorder behaviors are used to cope with
anxiety or strong emotions. People with eating disorders are very anxious about what they eat, are very
worried about gaining weight or looking too heavy, and spend a great deal of time thinking about these
concerns. Social isolation and low self-esteem are common in those with eating disorders.

        Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-
        starvation, a drive for thinness and excessive weight loss.

        Bulimia Nervosa (BN) is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a
        cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse or over-

        Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder characterized by recurrent binge eating
        without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating. An individual
        suffering from BED engages in frequent episodes of uncontrolled eating characterized by feeling
        frenzied, out of control, and consuming food past the point of being comfortably full.

        Eating Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) is the category for people who do not meet the
        strict criteria for Anorexia, Bulimia Nervosa, or Binge Eating Disorder, but who have significant
        concerns about eating and body image. Most patients do not have pure forms of eating disorders,
        and symptoms may cross over from one disorder to another over time.

        Common Co-Morbidity (CCM) Eating Disorders often co-exist with other psychological problems.
        Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Bipolar Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Alcohol and Drug
        addictions, and Self-Injury are commonly found in people already struggling from eating disorders.
        When these problems co-exist they complicate the treatment and increase the risk.

        Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is defined as an excessive preoccupation with a real or imagined
        defect in personal appearance. People with BDD have an irrational or distorted perception of how
        they look, and they are obsessed with certain characteristics of their appearance. They may
        exaggerate a perceived flaw out of proportion and have trouble controlling obsessive, negative
        thoughts about “flaws” in their appearance. People with BDD may consider themselves so
        unattractive that social anxiety may develop due to fear of rejection from others based on this
Why are Eating Disorders Considered Mental Health Problems?
Eating disorders are associated with emotional problems in addition to poor eating behaviors. Some of those
who have eating disorders have undergone extreme distress, trauma, or abuse, which may trigger unhealthy
behaviors. Eating disorder sufferers experience both emotional and behavioral symptoms. These disorders
are also closely related to many other mental health issues such as: depression, low self-esteem, loss,
problems at home or with peers, surgical or dental procedures, diabetes, physical and sexual abuse, and
substance abuse.

Who do Eating Disorders Affect?
Eating disorders are serious and persistent problems that touch people across all ages and races, and affect
both males and females. One misconception about eating disorders is that a person has to be underweight to
have an eating disorder. People in a great deal of emotional pain and at great medical risk can be
underweight, average weight, or overweight. Twenty-five percent of college-aged women engage in bingeing
and purging as a weight-management technique. Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from
an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder). In the United States a recent study in the
Archives of General Psychiatry showed almost equal numbers of men and women who have Anorexia
Nervosa in the United States.

Younger Children are Developing Eating Disorders.
In the last five years, children ages five to thirteen years of age have been referred to eating disorder clinics
in greater numbers. This increase is due to heightened awareness of the signs and symptoms of eating
disorders and to an increase in the development of eating disorders.

Disordered Eating Affects Learning Outcomes.
The irritability, decreased concentration, nausea, headaches, and dissatisfaction which often accompany
disordered eating have a negative effect on a student’s ability to learn and complete assignments. A change
in test scores and academic achievement may be a warning sign of disordered eating. As preoccupation with
food takes over, a student may retreat from social activities, lose interest in school work, family and friends,
and feel lonely, alienated, and disconnected from society.

Mortality Rates
Sadly, eating disorders have the highest death rate of any mental illness. Eating disorders increase an
individual’s death rate due to both medical complications and an increased suicide risk. The mortality rates
reported on those who suffer from eating disorders can vary considerably between studies and sources. Part
of the reason why there is a large variance in the reported number of deaths caused by eating disorders is
because those who suffer from an eating disorder may ultimately die of heart failure, organ failure,
malnutrition or suicide. Often, the medical complications of death are reported instead of the eating disorder
that compromised a person’s health.

Early Detection of Eating Disorders is Necessary to Increase the Likelihood of Successful Treatment.
Friends, relatives, teachers and health care providers all play an important role in helping an ill person
begin and continue treatment. Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders receive
treatment from specialists in the field of eating disorders, and only 1 in 10 men and women with eating
disorders receive any treatment. Eating disorders carry complexities unmatched by almost any other
disease. Eating disorders are not simply just a physical disease; eating disorders are also biological and
psychological and are impacted by genetics, societal norms, and personal belief systems. To effectively
treat an eating disorder, each of these elements must be addressed. Once these areas are addressed,
the reality is that recovery is possible and does happen. Eating disorders can be treated and a healthy
weight can be restored. The sooner these disorders are diagnosed and treated, the better the outcomes
are likely to be.

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