Professor Janet Treasure of King’s College Hospital and director of the Eating Disorder Unit at the Maudsley Hospital has warned that a key factor in this illness is that it physically damages the brain. “The brain needs 500 calories a day. Without that thinking becomes very rigid so the longer someone has a disorder, the harder it is to cure.” She Said.
Each year the NHS fund treatment in private hospitals for around 1,500 eating disorders patients, six of whom are under 14. For many of these individuals, their eating disorder will become a way of life and will usually lead to serious health problems and in 20 per cent of serious cases, early death.
A number of individuals who suffer from anorexia and bulimia speak of seeing their parents skip meals or using laxatives to control their weight and surveys have suggested that mothers who diet are twice as likely to have daughters who suffer from an eating disorder.
However, this is not the case for everyone and whatever the cause an early intervention is essential because as it stands, many young people are waiting far too long for treatment especially in rural areas.
Though a shortage of services is one issue, some parents are finding that when they do eventually receive help the medical professionals are so concerned about confidentiality that they don’t actually give helpful advice and support.
By holding a memorial service at Southwark Cathedral, Beat are drawing attention to the poor services for those with eating disorders and are hoping to encourage people to be more open about the best ways to treat them.
More information on eating disorders can be found here.