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It’s estimated that almost a quarter of a million people in the UK are affected by eating disorders.

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While many people associate these conditions with young people and women, they can affect anyone at any age.

If you think you might have an eating disorder, it’s essential you seek treatment as soon as possible. These are serious mental conditions, so treating the underlying cause of your eating habits is vital for your overall health.

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What Are The Most Common Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders can present themselves in many different ways. However, the feature that connects them is they all show a fundamentally harmful relationship with food.

Becoming angry gets your body ready for action - putting it into ‘fight or flight’ mode. And while this is a normal response, if it occurs too often it can put all sorts of strains on your body. Anger causes your brain to release adrenaline, leading to a faster heartbeat, heightened breathing and sweating.

  • Anorexia - The person will take extreme measures to keep their weight down, such as not eating or only eating very little, making themselves vomit or spending most of their time exercising.
  • Bulimia - The person may severely under-eat for a while, then dramatically binge eat before attempting to get rid of the food as quickly as possible by vomiting or taking laxatives.
  • Binge Eating - The person will regularly eat large amounts of food in one sitting and may feel they have no control over this habit.
  • Emotional Overeating - Binge eating that occurs as a result of the person being in a negative emotional state, such as depression, grief or anxiety.

Treating Eating Disorders

Whichever eating disorder you are diagnosed with, the key to successful treatment is identifying and addressing the feelings causing your unhealthy relationship with food.

A doctor might recommend a self-help manual, or you could be invited to attend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), where you’ll look at ways of managing the thoughts that lead to your eating disorder.

Other options include psychotherapy, counselling and, where appropriate, medication to combat symptoms such as depression and anxiety. With so many people experiencing these issues, it’s perhaps no surprise that there are also plenty of support groups available, should you wish to use them.

It’s important that you’re completely honest with your doctor in order for them to help you. We know that recognising you need help is often the hardest part of overcoming any mental health issue and our doctors will guide you through this vital first step on the road to recovery.

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Helping Someone You Know

As we’ve just discussed, often admitting you have an eating disorder can be very difficult. Some people can’t reach this point on their own.

If you’re worried about a friend or family member who you believe has an eating disorder, our doctors will be able to offer you advice on how best to help them.

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