In the UK 1.6 Million people suffer from an eating disorder.
20% of these people will become seriously ill. Once diagnosed, there are three categories. 10% of sufferers are anorexic, 40% are bulimic and the rest are in the category ‘eating disorder not otherwise specified’ (EDNOS) which includes ‘binge’ eating.
People who suffer from eating disorders usually try to hide it from their friends and family. It’s a psychological illness that, without treatment, can be very serious. If you think you have a problem you should always go to your GP for advice and a medical check. (Click here for symptoms).
Even after accepting treatment it is not an illness that can be treated quickly. It can take up to six years to get better. Some people are affected for life.
You almost certainly know of someone who has been affected as the most common age group is 14 to 25 year olds, although it can happen at any age. It’s important to be aware of signs that you or someone else may be affected. One of the hardest things to do if you know someone suffering from the illness is to convince them that their actions in relation to food aren’t normal. They have to accept the need to make a change before treatment can be successful.
Eating disorder awareness week runs from 11th February. This year the theme is: ‘Everybody knows someone’. 89% of sufferers are women. The charity Beat (stands for beat eating disorders) has ideas on how to raise money and awareness (http://www.b-eat.co.uk/). Their website also contains information and support.
The remaining 11% of sufferers are men and are often overlooked. The charity, Men get Eating Disorders Too (http://mengetedstoo.co.uk/) is there to raise awareness and to offer advice for them.
Statistics suggest that every year in the UK a quarter of people will be affected by a mental health problem.
Luckily most are not too serious, but others can be. Chances are then that 25 people from your class of 100 may be facing a mental health problem – or equally likely hiding one. Currently, the most common mental health problem in Britain is mixed anxiety and depression. Being at university away from home may lead to these problems or make them worse.
Considering the relatively high numbers it’s not something that is talked about much. University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day is on the 20th February. It’s all about talking about mental illness to reduce stigma. It’s useful to talk with others if you think you may be suffering from a mental health problem as realising you’re not alone can be comforting.
Here at Doctor Wellgood we think it’s great to get talking about issues that affect so many of us. We want you to know that it’s not uncommon to suffer from depression, anxiety or any other mental health issues. It’s really important to talk to someone about how you’re feeling so the problem doesn’t get worse. Then find practical help.
If you’re at university find out who your Student Welfare Officer is, it’s their job help you out. The information should be on the university website. You can check out if your university is taking part in Mental Health and Wellbeing day on the charity’s website below. You’ll also find information and advice for students. University Mental Health Advisers Network: http://www.umhan.com/uni-mental-health-day.html
If you are at school or college and worried you may be affected by a mental illness talk to a teacher you trust or your school nurse. Or book an appointment with your GP and they can give you advice or refer you to a specialist. All consultations will be completely confidential.