Sally’s story of her eating disorder is a familiar one, but she is right in saying she is one of the lucky ones, in that it was not only spotted early, but that appropriate early treatment was available.
Eating disorders are on the rise and, as the biggest killer among those diagnosed with a mental illness, it is not something that can be ignored.
The complexities of the illness mean it can go undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, and accessing the right help can be a minefield. This is a mental illness which manifests itself as physical eating disorder (over-eating, restricted eating, very controlled eating or binge eating). By the time the physical manifestation is apparent there is often significant damage, or threat, to the person’s health and that often has to take priority for treatment - that might save a life, but it usually does not have any effect on the root cause of the disorder. That often has to come later, making treatment complex, long-lasting and expensive.
Beat, the eating disorders charity, does some amazing work and is a powerful lobbying group. Its call today asking for measures to increase awareness of the early signs and symptoms, should be heeded and could save both lives and money. But the appropriate treatment has to be there to offer at an early stage, and waiting times for that treatment are still a huge problem in many parts of the UK.