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Eating disorders

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Eating disorders

What are they?

There are 3 types of eating disorders: Anorexia, Binge Eating Disorder and Bulimia.

Anorexia is when a person tries to lose weight or keep their weight low by not eating enough and/or over-exercising. They can have an obsession with food, tell lies about what they have eaten and have a strict diet. Physically they may feel tired, have thin hair and brittle nails and often weigh or measure themselves frequently.

Binge eating disorder is when someone may feel like they have to eat more than they normally would do all in one go. Emotionally the person may feel sad, not be able to concentrate at work or school and feel hopeless and lonely. Physically the person could have stomach pains and headaches, feel tired and crave sugar.

Bulimia is a serious mental illness where people feel that they have lost control over their eating and evaluate themselves according to their body shape and weight. People with bulimia are caught in a cycle of eating large quantities of food (called ‘bingeing’), and then vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics (called purging), in order to prevent gaining weight.

This behaviour can dominate daily life and lead to difficulties in relationships and social situations. Usually people hide this behaviour pattern from others and their weight is often in a healthy range. People with bulimia tend not to seek help or support very readily and can experience swings in their mood as well as feeling anxious and tense. They may also have very low self-esteem and self-harm.

They may experience symptoms such as tiredness, feeling bloated, constipation, abdominal pain, irregular periods, or occasional swelling of the hands and feet. Excessive vomiting can cause problems with the teeth, while laxative misuse can seriously affect the heart. Bulimia in children and young people is rare, although young people may have some of the symptoms of the condition. Bulimia usually develops at a slightly older age than anorexia. In some instances, although not all, bulimia develops from anorexia.

Why do it?

Eating disorders can be a form of self-harm. Some people become afraid of gaining weight. For others eating disorders start as a way of trying to feel in control.

Where can I get help?

Either visit your GP or a school nurse. They can help look at healthy eating habits with you, make sure you are not in any immediate danger and start to look at why you have the eating habits you do. You may be referred on to a specialist or a Dietician for further help or be offered counselling.

CAMHS Community Eating Disorder Service

South Yorkshire Eating Disorders Association (SYEDA)

What will happen?

You will meet with an RDASH CAMHS specialist for an initial appointment which could happen in your school, home, or at Kimberworth Place. That worker will ask you lots of questions to try and understand what has caused the problem. Everything has a cause – some physical but also emotional upset or a specific event can be the cause of a problem. Your family can come with you if you want, but also if you want to be seen on your own you can be. This service is confidential, but if you talk to us about something that puts you at risk your worker might need to tell someone else. They would discuss this with you first.

RDaSH will help you to understand what the trigger is and how they can learn to cope with whatever caused the problem.

Where can I go for help whilst I’m waiting to see someone?

Young Minds

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