Everybody knows somebody
Posted Thursday 14 February 2013
Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013 kicked off on Monday 11th February. The week was created by B-eat, the eating disorders charity, to raise awareness of this serious illness, challenge stereotypes and stigmas, and encourage those with an eating problem to be brave and try and get some help. The two clear messages this year are to help raise funds for B-eat and to raise awareness. 'Sock it to eating disorders' hopes to raise funds through sponsored sock themed events from selling knitted socks to wearing silly socks!
Working in an NHS Eating Disorder Service we are more focused on the raising awareness side of things – Everybody Knows Somebody. Eating disorders come in lots of different varieties - so even if you think that they may not apply to you, you might be surprised. It is important to remember that anyone can develop an eating disorder. Over 1.6million people in the UK are affected by eating disorders including men and women of all ages and backgrounds. The three main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Different eating disorders have different implications on health. These can include depression, impaired concentration, tiredness, weakness, sensitivity to cold, noise and light, headaches, hair loss, social isolation, damage to the esophagus through vomiting, and lots more. Being overweight can also have serious health effects such as increased blood pressure, increased risk of developing type II diabetes and increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
The nature of eating disorders often leaves people feeling alone, ashamed and helpless. For this reason it is very important that if you are worried about your eating, or that of someone you know, that you get some help. Often a close family member or relative is a good place to start. However, if you feel you unable to talk to them then you can go to your GP who will be able to give you advice and refer you on to an eating disorder service if necessary. The charity B-eat (mentioned above) is a very good place to get more information. They offer a helpline, support groups, and online forums where you can get support if you feel you aren’t ready to go along in person. Mind also offer information on eating problems, with details about causes, treatment options and what friends and family can do to help.
Chloe and Charlotte
Chloe and Charlotte are Assistant Psychologists at the Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service, providing specialist care for adults with a range of eating disorders. Their mission is to "work together to inspire and support individuals with eating disorders and their families on their path to recovery". Visit their website or follow them on twitter @VSEDS.
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