Many will have been shocked by recent NHS figures showing the doubling over the last six years of hospitalisations due to life-threatening eating disorders.
In 2017-18, the health service made 13,885 hospital admissions with either a primary or secondary diagnosis of eating disorders - up from 7,260 in 2010-11. Beat, an eating disorder charity, reported an increase from 7,000 calls to their helpline last financial year to an expected 17,000 by the end of this March.
The NHS categorises four types of eating disorders:
- Anorexia nervosa - where people try to consume as little food as possible
- Bulimia - where people eat a lot of food in a short period of time, and then try to rid themselves of this in a short period of time, via deliberately being sick, using laxatives or overexercise
- Binge eating disorder - regularly losing control of eating, consuming large portions until feeling uncomfortably full and then becoming upset or feeling guilty
- ‘Other specified feeding or eating disorder’ (OSFED) - conditions that don’t quite match the above symptoms but are no less serious
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Issue 984, 1-7 March 2018