CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- This week is National Eating Disorders Week, and the University of Virginia Medical Center is taking the week to show the importance of recognizing and being there for those who are struggling.

According to Dr. Sara Groff-Stephens at the UVA Children's Hospital, eating disorders have become much more prevalent since the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there are still a lot of eating disorders that go unidentified because of preconceived ideas.

She added that this week is meant to raise awareness of harmful eating habits and hopefully bring down the statistic of eating disorders being the second deadliest form of mental illness.

“Eating disorders are very serious disorders and they affect many people, so it’s really important to speak out against them, get help, and destigmatize them," said Groff-Stephens. "I think the more we talk about them, the more people can get help without being embarrassed or scared.” 

Some behaviors to look out for in a loved one include drastic weight loss, skipping meals, and extreme mood swings.