HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 22nd -March 1st.
Approximately 30 million women and men in the United States suffer from an eating disorder.
The week is meant to spread awareness about the disease in hopes that those suffering will seek help.
The week also gives others a better understanding of the illness.
Caroline Smith, Director of Addiction Services at Pine Grove, said eating disorders have the highest fatality rate of any psychiatric illness.
"Because this is a deadly disease and a complex disease that has a medical and psychological component, the whole person has to be treated," Smith said.
"It's not really about the food. Food is used as a way to mood alter either by restricting or indulging. So we have to get below what the obvious is."
She said nutrition, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, and pharmacology are parts of the treatment process.
The Pine Grove Women's Center is one of the few treatment centers nationwide who actively treat women with a co-occurring eating disorder.