Doctors in Staffordshire are using an awareness week to remind people of the key signs and symptoms of eating disorders, and what treatments are available to those who need them.
People who suffer from eating disorders often focus excessively on their weight, leading them to make unhealthy choices about food, which can have damaging results to their health.
The three most common eating disorders include:
- Anorexia - when a person takes extreme actions to keep their weight as low as possible, such as, starving themselves.
- Bulimia - when a person binge eats for a period of time and is then deliberately sick to try to control their weight.
- Binge Eating Disorder (BED) - when a person eats large amounts of food over a short space of time.
Warning signs of an eating disorder include missing meals, obsessively keeping track of weight, complaining about being fat - even when a normal weight, and refusal to eat in public places.
Eating disorders are serious, mental illnesses which require prompt and appropriate treatment.
There are a number of treatments available for eating disorders, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy, dietary counselling, family therapy and medication.
Speaking on behalf of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups Dr Ruth Chambers, Clinical Chair of Stoke-on-Trent CCG, said: “Eating disorders are sometimes caused by the social pressure to be thin, especially for young people, who believe they need to look a certain way. This pressure can weigh heavily on people and can lead to them going to extreme lengths, in order to stay thin.
“We want people to know that there is plenty of help available for anyone who may be experiencing an eating disorder, including counselling and therapy, as well as a dedicated helpline run by the charity Beat.
“No-one should feel uncomfortable when talking about eating disorders. If you think you might be struggling with your relationship with food, or you know someone who does, make sure you speak out and seek medical assistance.”
For help and support, you can call Beat on 0345 634 1414, or their youth helpline on 0345 634 7650.
There is also more information here: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.