Eating disorders affect 1.25m people and can be devastating to sufferers and their families. But only 6% of adults diagnosed with an eating order show any visible symptoms.
Health leaders in the Black Country want to raise awareness of range and complexity of eating disorders which are not limited to the binge eating associated with bulimia or the starvation linked to anorexia. It is advising local residents who think they or a close relative might have an eating disorder to contact their GP for help.
Dr Salma Reehana, Chair at NHS Wolverhampton CCG said: “Eating disorders form part of mental health disorders and are often not about the food itself but about the feelings associated with eating. The sooner someone gets treatment the more likely they are to make a full recovery.”
Symptoms are not always clear but if someone is worried they are suffering from an eating disorder, Dr Reehana recommends that they visit their GP, “It can be rather difficult to speak about it to your GP but it is the best way of starting the road to recovery. If you are worried about your relationship with food, your body image, or your exercise habits, speak to your GP. They can be a source of professional support and could help you recover quickly.
“Your first appointment may involve talking with them about your eating habits, being weighed and having a blood test so that they can check your physical and mental health. It can be stressful but doctors are here to help and will accommodate you as best as they can, for example letting you stand you stand backwards on the scales if you do not want to know your weight.”
- The CCG’s call to action coincides with Eating Disorder Week (26 February-4 March) which this year is posing the question, Why Wait?
- Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness with 1 in 5 sufferers dying prematurely from their condition.
- Young women aged 12 to 20 are most likely to develop an eating disorder.
- Social media can play a part in the development of eating disorders, particularly image focused platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram can have an influence and drive feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people, especially relating to issues with body image.
- Professor John Morgan at Leeds Partnership NHS Foundation Trust developed the SCOFF test to help concerned individuals check if they might have an eating disorder. A score of two or more positive answers is a positive scree
• Do you ever make yourself Sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
• Do you worry you have lost Control over how much you eat?
• Have you recently lost more than One stone in a three month period?
• Do you believe yourself to be Fat when others say you are too thin?
• Would you say that Food dominates your life?
- Beat Eating Disorders have developed an online directory called HelpFinder to help those who are worried find specialist services in their local area. For more information about Eating Disorders Awareness Week visit the website by clicking here.