This anorexia death in 2012 has come to light because of a report blaming the Health Service for failing her care. Is the Health Service to blame? Is the University to blame? What role do parents have when a child is so ill that they cannot take care of themselves?
Averil was put under the care of a Junior Psychologist who probably did her best. Would it be harsh of me to say that there is a lot of truth and nonsense being written about this case.
When I have a patient with anorexia, the first thing I urge parents to do is to alert the University beforehand and make sure that a care plan is in place for if a child relapses. The University also has a duty of care to make sure that all their students are well enough to be there.If there is any doubt about this, the Uni should insist on time out until any young person is well enough to keep attending. So it seems the University has something to answer for.
Are parents accountable for allowing a sick young woman to continue studying? If their child was ill, surely it is the duty of parents to insist that their child only continue with their studies if they are deemed a healthy enough weight.
So who should have insisted that Averil come back home and STAY home for treatment? She was not in a position to make that judgement herself. Her illness would also have seriously affected the well being of her friends.
Is the NHS to be blamed for not giving the right treatment? Anorexia is still very hard to treat. Anorexia is a master hypnotist, controlling someone’s life. It usually relapses unless someone is truly determined to live differently and even then it puts up a fight. Someone suggested that the right treatment would have made it easy for her to recover. They are wrong, people die even when they get the right help.
The parents are in despair wanting answers, everyone wants to attack the health service. We are lucky to have the NHS at all, in other countries people die of all sorts of things because they cannot afford help. If Averil’s parents had sought help from other agencies as well, like ours, things might have gone better. I cannot accept that Averil was fine when she was young, anorexia always shows up well before people start losing weight.
I am sorry for her parent’s loss. But. We have to stop blaming and attacking, this is common when someone gets an eating disorder because getting help is slow and difficult. Eating disorders are desperate problems and can persist for years, competing with other terrible illnesses like cancer and MS for funding and ongoing care. There will never be “answers” because despite everything we know about anorexia there are some people who won’t recover and who require hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of care during their lifetime.
Hello! My name is Larisa Dinu and I am a third-year student at the University of Northampton. For my dissertation, I have decided to investigate possible changes in autobiographical memory in individuals diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, as well as in individuals who have already recovered from it.
If you would like to take part in this study, please be aware that you will be asked to state your current weight. However, you are absolutely free to omit this question, as well as any other question that you do not wish to answer. Also, this study is addressed only for individuals aged 18 and above. If you decide to take part, your participation, as well as your data, will be completely anonymous and confidential.
The completion of my research project would involve filling in an online form which should not take more than 45 minutes from your time. The following link will guide you through every step of the process: https://goo.gl/wUnUL7. Thank you very much for your time and help!
University Research – calling for subjects
What Stops Men From Seeking Help For An Eating Disorder?
What barriers prevent men from seeking help for eating disorders? Our study aims; to look at the experience of men when seeking help for an eating disorder, to explore the barriers preventing men from seeking help for an eating disorder and to look at what social factors influence men’s help seeking. Who can take part?
You must be male, age 18+ and identify yourself as having an eating disorder. What will my participation involve?
This study will be conducted via semi-structured email interviews. The researcher will email you a group of questions at a time and you will respond to that email with your answers to those questions. Email interviews are expected to be conducted with each participant for approximately one week. Once the researcher has emailed you a group of questions, we hope you will respond to that email within two days and the researcher is committed to responding to your email within one day. Ethics
This study has received ethical approval from Nottingham Trent University’s School of Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.
If you would like to sign up for this research or would like any further information, please email either: Student Researcher: Sarah Lawlor, firstname.lastname@example.org Research Supervisor: Niamh McNamara, Niamh.email@example.com
Paul suffered for years with compulsive eating and self neglect so that he made poor eating choices consistently. He has lost over 400 lbs with an operation called the Gastric Sleeve where the stomach is adapted so that only very small amounts of food can be eaten. This operation is an immediate cure for Diabetes Type 2 BUT it is not suitable for everyone.
Gastric surgery is not the quick-fix solution for everyone who struggles with compulsive eating. It will change your ability to eat for the rest of your life and means you must make many adjustments to your relationship with food. So everyone wanting surgery for weight loss needs to undergo a psychological assessment. We can do this just call 0845 838 2040.
I hope that Paul finds the money he needs to get cosmetic surgery to deal with his excess skin. Perhaps he can get it from Crowdfunding.
Here is the link if you would like to see Paul’s story
with acknowledgement to BBC 5 Live
If you did not already know how serious and compulsive Anorexia is, this new film by Louis Theroux may convince you. Louis is an investigative reporter who has the confidence of many people with issues; murderers, paedophiles and now people with eating disorders.
For those of us who help people with Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating, it can be a hard slog. Sufferers think we are only interested in weight gain. We aren’t, we want to try and help our clients be set free from what at times feels like the possession of a demon. We just want people to be happier and to flourish. They have been born, we hope that we can help make their lives worthwhile.
If you have Anorexia, it can feel as if the safest option is just to be left alone with your tormenting friend, but it isn’t a happy place. People with anorexia are 57 times more likely than someone well- fed, to commit suicide.
One of my counsellors yesterday groaned I HATE Anorexia, yet here she is, waking up each morning, ready to do battle on behalf of yet another captive.To all my counselling colleagues may I say “Let The Force Be With You”. We will continue to do battle, we will try even harder to find a way out, one person at a time, one day at a time.
‘Overshadowed’ – the new BBC 3 mini-drama on anorexia, deals with the difficult portrayal of a horrific illness. The series depicts the brutal reality of anorexia without glamourizing the illness.
Something quite unique to this portrayal, which may ring true to many anorexia sufferers, is the personification of the anorexic ‘voice’. This ‘voice’ is often with the sufferer day and night, speaking to them as loudly and clearly as a real person. As portrayed in ‘Overshadowed’, this voice often starts as a friend – encouraging diet and exercise, praising the sufferer for their weight loss. Many find this comforting. As the illness progresses, the voice turns from friend to foe. The voice becomes critical, malicious. The voice tells the sufferer that they are ‘worthless’ or berates them for ‘lacking willpower’ to practice extreme diet and exercise regimes. It encourages them to distance themselves from friends and family who may be trying to help. Many anorexics will not admit to hearing a voice. But more often than not, it is absolutely there.
NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) techniques can help sufferers to actually control this voice in a way that other treatments cannot. At the NCFED we are trained to bring the Voice under control.
It is important to note that this mini-series was filmed over just 12 days and the lead actress Michelle Fox, whilst certainly petite, did not lose any weight for this portrayal. Weight-loss type effects were achieved with make-up and clothing. The script was written by Eva O’Connor, who is a recovered anorexic herself, which may explain why this portrayal of the anorexic experience is more accurate than many others. In fact, Eva personally plays the role of the anorexic voice.
If you or a loved one is affected by any of the issues raised in this program, get in touch with the NCFED for help.
It is a month since Mark Austin made a TV programme about his daughter Maddy’s anorexia. He has done this to point out how hard it is to get treatment when a child begins to waste away. The Duke of Cornwall got involved as well, but has it changed anything very much- not yet. It was brave of Maddy to take part in this programme. I wonder how she really felt about it. I wonder how she is now, if her anorexic voice has gone away.
Mark and his missus told us a harrowing story about how they coped with Maddy’s anorexia. How his wife had to sleep with Maddy to keep her safe, to make sure that she didn’t die during the night. How he told her to go away and die if that was what she wanted, in frustration at how powerless he felt. There is a line in the book ‘Heart of Darkness’ which speaks to me about anorexia. The Horror; The Horror.
We are all so glad that Maddy found the help she needed at an eating disorder clinic in Surrey which nursed her back to health. But I am left wondering exactly what the nurse practitioner actually did and said to her. So I am left frustrated, wanting to know if there is some sort of secret about anorexia recovery that despite all my years of experience, I haven’t found quite yet.
We had a phone call today from a mother whose daughter has anorexia for 7 years. They exist in a tormented relationship, mother trying to help, daughter lashing out, sick husband living on the sidelines witness to a daily living hell. For years I felt I didn’t have the courage to work with anorexia, now I do, I am not afraid to face it. I have to go so deep down to find the person who has become its prisoner, and from time to time come to the surface gasping for air. The air is always there.
So many people tell me that their eating problems aren’t taken seriously because they look normal. Ann (not real name) said last week that she felt like a fraud sitting in an eating disorder group because she was the only person who wasn’t thin. She came to see us for an assessment. Afterwards she said
And so I haven’t fully believed that what “I” have is a proper eating disorder but rather what I have is just a problem, that just I have, that no-one has been able to help me with and that I should and will be able to sort out on my own at some point in the future. I realise now that is not the case, I deserve help, which is scary and overwhelming but also exciting and hopeful.
If you want an assessment by someone who understands all the faces of an eating disorder, you can find it here with us.
My biggest concern is letting a former sufferer get down to an anorexic weight after she has “recovered”.
My almost less big concern would be letting anyone else thin- down for a part like this. Oh actors do, like Tom Hanks, he got diabetes a few years later.
There are a lot of people who like to voyeur on mental health; we no doubt will see a few more odd movies shortly with purging into toilets or plastic bags or cutting holes out of themselves in the name of public interest. Some people even say it is useful. It destigmatises mental health (no it doesn’t); it inspires people to confess their difficulties (no it doesn’t) and it inspires sufferers to recover (no it doesn’t). I understand that some thinspiration idiots are rubbing their hands with glee about this movie and many might hope to learn some new tricks.
I understand that some people think it will be “triggering”
No doubt I will watch it, otherwise I won’t be able to comment if people ask me about it. But I would rather watch Planet Earth by David Attenborough to lift my spirits, rather than more behaviour which makes me sad and cross. I am exposed to enough human suffering for one lifetime even though my work is my passion, I need other things to remind me of the good and wonderful things in life. Recovery after all, is about tuning into other things in life, not endless infatuation with starving, emaciation, laxatives and purging.
‘I was living a life, but not living the life that I wanted. Every day my thoughts were consumed with food, over-exercising, calorie counting, label checking and fear. I could not concentrate or focus on a task without looking at the clock to indicate when the next snack or meal was due. The enthusiasm and motivation I had for life was sucked out of me, taking most of my ambition and interests with it’. (Jessica Mell)
Fat people do experience the most awful stigma; every day every moment is a moment laden with possibilities for being shamed. But thinking you are fat is not the same as being overweight, and we all need to know the difference and stop listening to the fat demon in our head. Listen to the music. Take a moment out of thinking and anguishing about food, calories, the next meal, the next binge, the next diet, the person on the train who is thinner than you, we might be able to live and banish eating disorders back to the hellhole where they belong.