Where do I start?
Will I get better?
There are many people who recover fully from their eating disorder. Some people continue to have symptoms for a long time, but they do learn to cope with these thoughts and feelings and are able to live normally. We do know that the longer someone has an eating disorder, the more difficult it is to treat, so it is really important that you get help as early as you can.
How do I know if I have an eating disorder?
An eating disorder impacts on many areas of life, but the most common signs to look for include:
- Thoughts about food, weight and body shape dominating your life and interfering with day to day life, such as school, studying, working, socialising.
- Drastic changes to your weight.
- Dieting becoming very restrictive.
- Seeking other ways to lose weight, such as excessive exercise, taking laxatives or self-induced vomiting.
- Binges- which means eating an excessive amount of food within a short time.
- Frequently checking your body in the mirror, or weighing yourself a number of times a day.
The impact of engaging in these behaviours can lead to changes in the way you are with family and friends, such as avoiding eating out, or becoming deceitful about your eating patterns (eg 'I ate earlier' or 'I'll eat later', when really you don't intend to, or doing secret food shopping trips for food you binge on). You may also feel physically unwell, tired and irritable, anxious or depressed.
Why are people worried about me? I don't think I have a problem.
Sometimes other people, especially those close to you, may notice problems before you do, such as how much your difficulties are impacting on your life, and how you have changed as a person. It is not unusual for people with eating disorders to struggle to accept they have a problem, and often donâ€™t want to think about it. If other people are worried, it means that they care. Listen to other people, they probably have your best interests at heart.
Why am I being referred to mental health services for an eating problem?
Eating disorders are about thoughts and feelings, rather than food. It is a psychological problem which has physical consequences. The treatment for an eating disorder is both physical and psychological. It is important to monitor your physical health, but treatments are mainly based around talking therapies.
How do I get referred?
Please arrange an appointment with your GP to discuss your worries. Your GP will then decide if you need a referral to our service.