There are so many ways that eating disorders can manifest themselves. For some people it might mean limiting the amount of food they eat, eating large amounts of food all at once, ridding the body of the food they have eaten in an unhealthy way (e.g. laxatives, purging, excessive exercise) or sometimes a combination of all of these.
Types of eating disorders include:
- binge eating disorder
Not only can eating disorders cause serious harm but they can be fatal, with anorexia having the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.
Who gets eating disorders?
Although young women between the age of 12 – 20 are the most likely to develop an eating disorder, anyone else can also develop this condition, no matter what their age, gender, ethnic or cultural background is.
It is believed however that males make up a quarter of the sufferers of an eating disorder and that sufferers among men, boys, older people and people from ethnic or cultural minorities could be higher than first thought. The reasoning behind this is because these people are probably more reluctant to come forward and ask for help with an illness that is already very difficult to talk about.
What causes eating disorders?
There is no single reason why someone develops an eating disorder as the influences may be genetic, psychological, environmental, social or biological. However, the latest research shows that eating disorders are much more biologically based than was previously thought.
Because of the complexity of eating disorders, not everyone will suffer the same symptoms. Some people can be affected by more than one type of eating disorder or find their symptoms start to change as they recover from treatment.
Eating disorders can also cause other mental or physical health issues in people at the same time. So not only are they having to deal with their eating disorder but also other health issues.
Diagnosing an eating disorder
It is important for anyone with an eating disorder to visit their GP as soon as possible and if their GP thinks they have an eating disorder, they should refer them to a specialist so further assessment can be made and treatment be put in place.
A diagnosis is usually essential before treatment can be approved and doctors and healthcare professionals use agreed criteria to make the diagnosis. They will they talk to the person about their feelings and behaviour so they can build a history of them. Sometimes physical tests are needed as well, such as checking the persons height and weight and blood tests.
Can eating disorders be treated?
Yes, eating disorders can be treated and at BEAT they know from their daily contact with people affected that it is very possible to make a full recovery. As with any other illness, the quicker someone with an eating disorder gets treatment, the more likely recovery is. People will respond differently to treatment and can take different amounts of time to recover. BEAT have put together a leaflet, to help you with getting your GP to refer you to see a specialist.
Finding the comedy in recovery
The Essex Partnership University Trust are hosting an Eating Disorders Awareness Event in Chelmsford, Essex on 4th March 2020 from 6.30 – 9pm.
This event is part of a wider effort to raise awareness and offer avenues for support and treatment and is being led by the National Eating Disorder charity BEAT.
Comedian Dave Chawner, who has himself overcome anorexia will be performing at the event. The event is FREE, all you need to do is register.
Please click on the links below, which will provide you with a wealth of information about BEAT and also the event that they are leading.
The above information has been sourced from:
If you are suffering from any form of eating disorder or are going through treatment, then the team at SMP Healthcare would like to wish you the very best of luck. For those of you that have overcome an eating disorder, we would like to say “well done”.
Author: Tracy Izzard-Johnson