BANGOR — Feb. 21–27 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This week, Northern Light Acadia Hospital shines the spotlight on eating disorders by educating our friends and neighbors, spreading a message of hope, and putting lifesaving resources into the hands of those who need them.

Eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of age, size, gender, race, sexuality, ability, and more. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, in the United States, eating disorders are the second most fatal mental illness, surpassed only by opioid use disorder, according to NEDA. Furthermore, from the start of the pandemic through December 2021, National Eating Disorders Association saw a 107 percent increase in outreach to their Helpline over the previous same time period. This is why educating ourselves, and others, about the dangers and causes of eating disorders is imperative.

Eating disorders have a variety of causes, and risk factors fall into three categories:

  • Biological – For instance, someone with an immediate family member (such as a parent or sibling) who has an eating disorder is at risk of developing one themselves.
  • Psychological – For example, people who have or had an anxiety disorder are more prone to developing an eating disorder.
  • Social – For instance, people from racial or ethnic minority groups who experience “acculturation,” or pressure to assimilate Western ideals of beauty and ways of life, have an increased risk for eating disorders.

Acadia Hospital, through its Eating Disorders Treatment Program, offers a number of important resources for anyone struggling with an eating disorder. With individual, family, and group therapy options offered virtually, nutrition counseling, medication management and more, Acadia Hospital’s trained and dedicated team of experts can help. To learn more, visit our website at and help us #BeTheChange #NEDAwareness.