National Eating Disorder Week raises awareness

Ingrid Schmidt

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This week, Ashland University is participating in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is to raise awareness for the seriousness of eating disorders and the causes, treatments and triggers of the diseases.

AU dietetics has asked Marlys Slone, a local Clinical, Outpatient and Community Dietitian, to speak on Feb. 23 in Rybolt 220. It is hard for people with eating disorders to find help, especially in small towns like Ashland. Slone is one of the limited number of dietitians in the area who treat patients with eating disorders.

“There are few dietitians in the area that will see Eating Disorders,” says Slone, “It is very challenging to meet with eating disorder patients.”

Slone helps to give patients eating plans and dietary techniques to help overcome their eating disorders, but treating eating disorders is not just about refeeding the patient. Counseling is a large part of treating these serious illnesses.

“It is a lot of counseling,” says Slone, “How to get them to work with you positively.”

Slone is bringing in a local eating disorder counselor and her good friend, Tracy Hamilton-Motta to help her with Tuesday night’s presentation. Hamilton-Motta comes from a special setting, being an anorexia and bulimia therapist at Remuda Ranch Center in Arizona and now works at Life Steps Counseling Service in Mansfield. Slone thinks her unique background will help to bring new and helpful information to the presentation.

“This will allow students the opportunity to communicate with professionals,” says Slone.

Slone says that this presentation will be very helpful to psychology and sociology students. They will get a closer look at how eating disorders can be treated during the presentation.

“It will help people to see how counseling and dietetics work together to help,” says Slone. “It will help students to see the difference between knowledge and application.”

Slone also thinks that the presentation will be helpful to students who have struggled with or know someone who has struggled with an eating disorder.

“It can help people struggling find a support system,” says Slone.

Eating disorders are very serious problems, especially in today’s society, but with proper treatment, they can be overcome.

The National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) website is now offering a free, confidential eating disorder screening that only takes three minutes to complete. Since early diagnosis is so important when treating an eating disorder, NEDA is encouraging anyone struggling with eating or exercise related problems to screen themselves and see if they need to seek professional help.

For more information on eating disorders or on National Eating Disorders Awareness Week students can visit http://nedawareness.org/

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