Statistics say there is a deep connection between eating disorders and the Pandemic. In fact , because of the lockdowns and the anxiety generated by the virus, our behaviour towards food seems to have changed. If for some people this means only to gain some weight, for others it could turn into tragedy.
Food disorders are complex psychiatric diseases that cause significant psychological and emotional distress, creating damage to health and quality of life. They predominantly affect women although in recent decades there has been an increase in cases among men. They can appear at all ages and, despite the peak being individuals between 15 and 24 years, in recent times there has been an increase in these disorders in pre-adolescent age, between 8 and 12 years, with a worse prognosis.
In Italy, 3 million young people suffer from DCA, an often underestimated phenomenon, which constitutes a real social epidemic: 95.9% are women, 4.1% men. Suffering from a DCA, in addition to the negative consequences on an organic level, has important effects on the social functioning of the person, with serious penalties for the quality of life; it limits their interpersonal, work and social skills.
In addition to causing intense mental suffering, it also involves the body, with serious physical complications. However, only a small percentage of sufferers seek help. Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder are therefore complex disorders, due to the enormous suffering they cause to those who suffer from them and their families, to the suspension of life which they determine for the denial of the disease and refusal of treatment even in conditions of serious risk one’s life determined by damage to the systems such as cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, haematological, skeletal, central nervous system.
These disorders can be treated through a care network aimed at early detection of the disorder, through the activation of specialized multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs. In fact, the early diagnosis of the disease and timely intervention entrusted to a team of specialist doctors are fundamental for the success of the treatment.
At the same time a prevention campaign has started thanks to the government (The Ministry of Health) and some associations as well. A national day, for rising awareness against the phenomenon, has been introduced.
The National Day of the so-called “Lilac Bow” was promoted for the first time in 2012 by the “Mi Nutro di Vita” Association (Pieve Ligure – GE). The initiative starts with a father, Stefano Tavilla, who lost his daughter Giulia at the age of 17 after bulimia; this tragic event occurs on March 15 (day of the girl’s death). For this reason the Italian Association chose that date, March 15, as symbolic date for the struggle against all the Eating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, Obesity, EDNOS, and many new forms.
The goals of the day are:
– to defend the fundamental rights of those affected by a DA, fighting distorted information and / or prejudices;
– to raise public awareness, giving information about the frequency, characteristics and serious consequences that these disorders can have for the physical and psychological health of those who suffer from them;
– to discourage detachment and disinterest on the part of those who are not directly involved in the disease;
– to raise awareness at the individual, collective and institutional level of the social epidemic character that DAs are assuming at national and world level;
– to create a network of solidarity with those affected by AD, personally or in the family, to combat their relational discomfort and the sense of abandonment and defeat the silence that accompanies these disorders.