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Your spotlight on local services

Blog: National Eating Disorder Awareness Week


National eating disorder week is a movement, which lasts from 25th of February to 3rd March. The week aims to combat society’s beauty standards and promote self -acceptance.

According PRIORY, eating disorders are responsible for more loss of life than any other mental health condition, and unfortunately, are becoming increasingly more common in today’s society. An eating disorder is extremely dangerous and in many cases, it can cause death. They are most common in the people from the ages of 6 to 40, which is greatly concerning.

Anorexia is by far the deadliest eating disorder. Between 1.25 and 3.4 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder and Around 25% of those affected by an eating disorder are male and 1 in 5 women from the ages 16 to 24 suffer from an eating disorder. An estimated 10-20% of people suffering from anorexia are more likely to die. Women are also twice more likely to suffer from an eating disorder than men making them more vulnerable to mental health illnesses according to the Mental Health Foundation. 

Here are a few eating disorders we should be aware of to support those who suffer from it:

Anorexia nervosa- The result of attempting to keep your weight as low as possible by eating very little, exercising excessively, or both. Victims have an intense fear of gaining weight. In addition, they may have intense anxiety around certain food groups such as carbohydrates and fats, which often leads to them telling people that they have already eaten.

Bulimia- When you sometimes lose control and binge and are deliberately sick, use laxatives, restrict eating and exercise too often to stop yourself from gaining weight. People with bulimia often maintain a healthy weight and often carry out their behaviours in secret due to shame.

Binge eating disorder (BED) - When you regularly lose control of your eating, eat large portions of food until you are uncomfortably full and often feel guilty afterwards. People often find it difficult to stop a binge even if they want to. Some people even struggle to remember what they have eaten afterwards due to a feeling of disconnection whilst carrying out binges.

Other specified eating disorder (OFSED) - When your symptoms do not exactly match those of anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder, but it does not mean it is not a serious illness. Like other eating disorders, they may refuse to consume certain foods and wear baggy clothes to conceal their weight loss or keep warm. Similarly, they may make remarks about being ‘fat’, even after dramatic weight loss.

OFSED is the most common, then binge eating disorder and bulimia. Anorexia is the least common illness, which decreases life expectancy by 22 to 25 years.

Reference: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/eating-disorders/

If you are suffering from an eating disorder, many help-lines that could assist with any problems you may have are available.

A Specialist outpatient service. The service aims to bring hope and confidence to those who have an eating disorder and to enable them to take back control of their life by overcoming their eating disorder.
Helpline: 0300 555 1216

Offer a supportive space, provide information about eating disorders and Explore options for help with eating disorders. They also allow you to come up with your decision for what treatment would be best for you. B-eat also have a Youth Line (0808 801 0711) which is readily available for kids and young adults. Other helplines also include the student line: 0808 801 0811, which is for young adults currently studying. You may also enjoy their other useful facilities such as one to one web chats, support groups and chat rooms, which specifically help to combat eating disorders and help victims of this disease, take back control of their lives and bodies.
Helpline: 0808 801 0677 

Young minds
A national charity which is committed to improving the mental health and eating habits of children and young people around the UK.
Services include parent information services, which offer advice to parents that are deeply concerned about their child.
Helpline; 0808 802 5544

The mix

A charity, available to all ages which listens to any problems or embarrassing issues you may have. Whether it be through their articles, videos, peer -to -peer and counselling services, they put the control in your hands and guide you to rebuild your lives.
Helpline: 0808 808 4994


Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham
Lifeline House
25 Neville Road
Dagenham, Essex RM8 3QS