A special campaign to raise awareness and understanding of eating disorders, challenging stereotypes and stigmas, is running from 25 February to 3 March.
NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is calling on local residents to show their support for Eating Disorders Awareness Week and ‘sock it to eating disorders’ by being aware of the warning signs and the treatment that is available.
On average, 149 weeks pass before those experiencing eating disorder symptoms seek help.
Recognising the signs is an important first step for a sufferer or their friends and family.
Warning signs of an eating disorder include: missing meals, obsessively keeping track of weight, complaining about being fat - even when a normal weight, and refusing to eat in public places.
There are a number of treatments available for eating disorders, including: cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy, dietary counselling, family therapy and medication.
The best way to access these treatments is to talk to a GP. They will be able to offer advice and guidance and refer patients to eating disorder specialists.
Dr Nicola Smith, GP and Chair of NHS Milton Keynes CCG, said: “Let’s all sock it to eating disorders because there is help available for anyone who may be experiencing an eating disorder, including counselling and therapy, as well as a dedicated helpline run by the charity Beat.
"Eating disorders, while serious, are treatable, and it is very possible to make a full and sustained recovery.
“The stigma attached to eating disorders – in common with many mental illnesses and conditions – means that so many people suffer in silence.
"Yet the earlier someone is able to access treatment, the better their chance of recovering full recovery and it’s never too late to seek support, whether they are beginning to develop an eating disorder, have had one for some time, or are experiencing a relapse.”
The eating disorders charity, Beat, estimates that there are over 1.6 million people struggling with an eating disorder throughout the UK.
Whilst many of these have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment, many more remain undiagnosed and at risk of their eating disorder becoming progressively worse and leading to a whole host of distressing symptoms and long-term problems.
Beat’s helpline services provide support and information 365 days a year. Call the Helpline on 0808 801 0677 or 0808 801 0711 for the Youthline.
People can also visit the NHS Choices to find out what local services are available by entering their postcode at https://bit.ly/2CsGdBk.
For further information about Eating Disorders Awareness Month visit https://bit.ly/2FhzOep