We poor ED sufferers rarely get media coverage beyond women's glossy magazines, so imagine my surprise at chancing upon this article in the Sunday Herald. It's transcribed verbatim below.
It makes some fairly obvious points, but on the 'raising awareness' issue it's quite interesting. On that front...am I the only oe who didn't know that it's supposed to be Eating Disorder Awareness Week?
My immediate criticisms are using the word 'anorexics', and assuming that anorexia and bulimia are the only EDs in existence. I could go on, but I'll leave it to you guys.
Revealed: Why anorexics hide their illness
Young people suffering from eating disorders are waiting months before seeking treatment and feel unable to tell anyone about their problem.
In the first survey of its kind hundreds of young men and women were quizzed about their experiences of having illnesses such as anorexia and bulimia.
Researchers discovered that more than six out of ten waited longer than six months before getting help once they recognized they had a problem. Just under half said they had felt unable to discuss their condition with family, close friends or a health professional such as their doctor.
Last year, a Sunday Herald investigation found that patients with serious eating disorders were having to wait months for NHS treatment in
The survey was carried out by the Eating Disorders Association (EDA) and will be published tomorrow to mark Eating Disorders Awareness week. Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the EDA, said that wile awareness of anorexia and bulimia was increasing, sufferers were still reluctant to talk about their condition.
“We were surprised by young people telling us how difficult it was to speak out and even tell anyone they had an eating disorder, even their close family and friends,” she said. “People tend to find it really difficult to tell anyone, even when they know they have a problem.”
Ringwood said that while addressing the condition at an earlier stage increased the chances of a successful recovery, there was often not enough treatment readily available. She added that sufferers needed to be encouraged to come forward as soon as possible.
She said: “Doctors are saying that if only they could see people six months sooner, they would have a much better chance of recovery. We need to make people realise it is not something to be ashamed of.”
Other campaigners called for more training for health professionals to enable them to spot the signs of eating disorders and act on them.
A spokeswoman for the National Centre for Eating Disorders said feelings of embarrassment, fear of gaining weight during treatment and not being treatable prevented people seeking help.
“It’s mostly for other people to be aware of what is happening and to raise the issue with them in the right way so that they are not scared of getting help,” she said.
Grainne Smith, of North East Eating Disorders Support (Needs), criticised the lack of professional training given to doctors.
She added: “An eating disorder is a chronic condition and once it gets entrenched it is more difficult to treat, like any of the compulsive and addictive behaviours such as gambling or drugs.”
According to Dr Alex Yellowlees, a leading eating disorder specialist and medical director of the
“Awareness of these disorders among parents, schools, GPs, psychiatrists and the general public is increasing,” said Yellowlees.
But despite the improvement, he warned that there was still a “long way to go” to ensure that everyone – including health professionals – fully understood that eating disorders were serious and life-threatening mental health illnesses.
He said: “Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have the highest fatality rate among psychiatric disorders. Up to 20% of people die: that’s higher than schizophrenia or depression, and yet people don’t know that.”
Rose Sadowski, a 21-year old drama student at
She said: “ I felt even more isolated at uni, as even though I had friends who were fantastic, I didn’t want it to b an issue. I didn’t want to be known as the anorexic girl. I was seeing a counsellor and she said you could be put into hospital. When I found out about that I broke down, saw one of my friends and burst into tears. I told a couple of other friends and they were unbelievably supportive. If you don’t talk about it, you become very self-involved and you are unaware of how bad you are.”
By Judith Duffy, Sunday Herald Health Correspondent