Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect seven girls in every 1,000, and one boy in every 1,000. It usually begins to be a problem in teenage years, but can happen at any time. Two common disorders are anorexia nervosa (eating very little) and bulimia nervosa (binge eating then being sick).

It's not known for certain what causes them, but many factors could play a part:
  • Social pressure, particularly caused by TV and magazine images of thin celebrities.
  • Losing weight can make you feel good and in control.
  • Puberty - anorexia reverses some of the physical changes of becoming an adult.
  • Traumatic events - bereavement, abuse, bullying or long term illness can sometimes trigger eating disorders.
  • Family problems - saying "no" to food may be the only way you can express your feelings.
  • Depression and low self-esteem - binges may start off as a way of coping with unhappiness.
  • Genes - it can run in families.

If you have a problem with food, it is serious and may damage your health so you need to get help. You could try talking to your parents or a family member. Seeing a GP can be a good start. It is important to have the correct diagnosis. Your doctor can refer you to specialist professionals like psychiatrists, psychologists, dieticians, nutritionists, and counsellors - it may not be possible to access this support without seeing a doctor. If seeing a doctor is difficult perhaps you could talk to the practice nurse or someone at school or college that you trust

B-eat is an organisation which helps people tackle eating disorders and they have a website for young people at: www.b-eat.co.uk

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"If you have a problem with food, it is serious and may damage your health so you need to get help"