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Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders week takes place this year between the 27th February and the 5thMarch.

Very little is talked about this subject even though it is estimated that 1.25 million people in the UK suffer from an eating disorder often in secret and therefore there is a good chance it may affect you or someone you know.

Eating disorders are a serious mental illness and not as some people believe just a diet that got out of hand or someone who desires to be super skinny. In most cases people suffering with an eating disorder have no more or less body fat that anyone else.

One of our BACP accredited counsellors Sarah observes that “People with ED might have a great deal of focus on their body, but can be totally unaware of the feelings they are experiencing. Similar to how we would have a stress reaction in the body to fear, people with ED do not necessarily name their feelings in the same way. Fundamentally all behaviour is purposeful and an ED is not just a defence mechanism but an expression of what has been experienced in their lives.”

Eating disorders can take many forms including bulimia, binge eating disorder, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), and anorexia, which tragically has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, though all eating disorders can be deadly.

Eating disorders do not discrimate and can affect anyone anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or background. Stereotypically people associate eating disorders with teenage girls however it is estimated that 25% of people with an eating disorder are male.

Help is out there for anyone struggling with an eating disorder either their own or a family member, friend, colleague or pupil.

The website Beat eating disorders has a wealth of information and support for anyone who is concerned about themselves or another person.

The earlier a person with an eating disorder is able to access support the greater their chances of making a full recovery and the first port of call should be your GP. Your GP should make an immediate referral for an assesment however if they don’t or you find yourself on a waiting list you can use the help finder tool on the Beat website.

Talk to a People at Work first responder and find out how we can be part of your wellbeing support.

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