An eating disorder is a mental health condition where the afflicted person uses the control of food to cope with negative feelings. The types of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating disorder. Each of these conditions can become debilitating for the person affected unless they have the right care and treatment.
Who is affected by eating disorders?
For Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2023, charities such as BEAT have been campaigning for better awareness. Though eating disorders are most common in teenagers, they highlight that up to 6.4% of adults also display signs of an eating disorder. 1.25 Million people in the UK were estimated to have an Eating Disorder in 2020 (a number which may have risen since). Though often associated with young girls and women, 25% of those affected were male.
Eating disorders can affect people of any age, gender or nationality. Disordered eating behaviours are something that should never be ignored.
Repeated issues with ED care
Recently, the Parliamentary and Health Serviceman warned that the NHS has “repeatedly failed” people with eating disorders. The ombudsman called to attention several recommendations laid out in an earlier report from 2017, which the NHS hasn’t met.
For example, in the 2017 report, they highlighted that adult eating disorder services should be brought on par with the eating disorder services offered to minors.
Healthcare failings can lead to further harm for people of any age with an eating disorder, including avoidable deaths. While the healthcare system slowly starts to catch up, many adults are left waiting for the therapy and support they need. For as long as the issue persists, there is likely to be an increase in the demand for medical no win no fee personal injury solicitors.
As Ombudsman Rob Behrens asserted, it’s time for a “culture change” in the NHS regarding how eating disorders are treated. He says they should be willing to learn from past tragedies as they look to improve.
He also calls for the government to treat eating disorders as a greater priority. More support and training could be given to the nurses who work with patients and families first-hand.
The government recently assigned £1 billion to community mental health care for adults with severe mental health problems (including eating disorders). They also designated £54 million per year for community eating disorder services for children and adolescents. The NHS must make full use of the budget, and it is to be hoped that these actions will lead to some improvement soon.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised, you can contact BEAT at 0808 801 0677 (England), 0808 801 0432 (Scotland), 0808 801 0433 (Wales) and 0808 801 0434 (Northern Ireland).
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