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Report warns of long waits and obstacles to treatment after big rise in hospital admissions

Adults with life-threatening eating disorders face huge waits for vital NHS care and must overcome “appalling failings” to get help, leading psychiatrists have warned.

A report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists highlighted the gap in support available for those over 18, saying that while services for teenagers and children have received an injection of £135m, investment in adult services has failed to keep up.

Related: What is the NHS long-term plan and can it achieve its aims?

Related: Hospital admissions for eating disorders surge to highest in eight years

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Having concerns about how you look is not in itself a mental illness, but can trigger a range of problems

Like it or not, most of us are aware of how we look. We have all had a bad hair day, or worried whether we are wearing the right clothes for a particular event.

The traditional stereotype is that young women are more concerned about their appearance than young men. Societal pressures, media images, and doting relatives saying how pretty a female child looks all have an impact.

Related: One in three UK teenagers 'ashamed of their body'

Related: We’re deluged with images of ‘beauty’. No wonder so many of us feel so badDawn Foster

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After her son was born prematurely, Tahmima Anam thought the worst was behind her. But when he was allowed to come home two months later, a new problem emerged: he refused to eat

Read the text version here

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After her son was born prematurely, Tahmima Anam thought the worst was behind her. But when he was allowed to come home two months later, a new problem emerged: he refused to eat

My son was born twice: first on a warm, late June afternoon in a busy east London hospital, and again five years later at a small children’s nursing home in Queens, New York.

I was six-and-a-half months pregnant when I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. On the day it happened, I had done a series of unremarkable things: shopping for bread, editing a story, calling my parents in Bangladesh. In the afternoon, my midwife came over for a routine visit. She checked my blood pressure and saw that it was high, so she asked me to pee on a stick. When I returned it to her, she told me to pack a bag.

Related: The diabolical genius of the baby advice industry

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In her new show, Muckers, the actor and playwright revisits the mess, mischief and bamboozling anxieties of growing up

‘Ask her if it’s true about the poo!” “Ask her what she really calls her vagina!” After watching the gloriously knotty kids’ show Muckers, my daughters have two important questions for its creator, Caroline Horton. But when I meet her at a park cafe in Rugby I’m too embarrassed to ask them until we’ve finished our coffee. This, laughs Horton in the sunshine, is partly why she made the show. She wants to encourage the kind of conversations we shy away from.

Toilet humour guarantees giggles from even the toughest of young audiences. But alongside its raucous silliness and scatological streak, Muckers gently raises questions about body image, anxiety, shame and sexism. Horton likens her approach to looking under a rock and finding “all this shit underneath”. She smiles and says: “It’s fine. It’s there. It’s OK to have a look sometimes.”

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App hosts dozens of group chats where youngsters are given strict weight-loss advice

Thousands of young people with eating disorders are being preyed on by “anorexia coaches” operating on an anonymous messaging app, a Guardian investigation can reveal.

Kik, a popular app among children and teenagers that has previously come under fire over safeguarding issues, hosts dozen of pro-anorexia group chats that are open to the public.

Related: Hospital admissions for eating disorders surge to highest in eight years

Related: Samuel Pollen: 'Having an eating disorder is like having a bad cop inside your head'

In the UK, Beat can be contacted on 0808 8010677 or emailed at help@beateatingdisorders.org.uk (over-18s), studentline@beateatingdisorders.org.uk (students) or fyp@beateatingdisorders.org.uk (under-18s). In the US, the National Eating Disorders Association helpline number is 1800 9312237. In Australia, the Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders helpline number is 1800 334673.

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Diabulimia, which can be fatal, occurs if type 1 diabetics stop taking insulin to lose weight

Diabetics who also have a rare and potentially fatal eating disorder are to start receiving specialist NHS help to reduce their risk of suffering its “devastating” consequences.

About 55,000 people in England with type 1 diabetes also have diabulimia, which occurs when a person with the condition stops taking insulin regularly because they want to lose weight.

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The author of a novel to help young people deal with anorexia says his message is a hopeful one - most people recover

When an eating disorder took hold of Samuel Pollen at the age of 12 he felt as if the bad cop within him was taking over. He says anorexia is like having a severe voice in your head that grows to be all-consuming, but is also separate from who you really are.

Now, aged 30, he is able to talk openly about his childhood experience. To help others he has written a book, The Year I Didn’t Eat, which chronicles 12 months in the life of fictional 14-year-old Max as he struggles with anorexia.

Related: Genetic study of eating disorders could pave way for new treatment

Related: As a teenage boy with anorexia I couldn't find words to describe my mental illness

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The obsession with fasting overlaps with a trend for what is often termed ‘biohacking’ – the idea that your body is a system that can be quantified and optimized

Eating is so last season; these days all the cool kids fast. Fasting diets have rocketed in popularity over the last few years, garnering a number of high-profile fans. Like Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, for example, who tweeted last month that he had “been playing with fasting for some time”. Dorsey explained that he does “a 22 hour fast daily (dinner only), and recently did a 3 day water fast”. The billionaire added that the biggest thing he had noticed after depriving himself of food was “how much time slows down. The day feels so much longer when not broken up by breakfast/lunch/dinner. Any one [sic] else have this experience?”

I have! I’ve had lots of experience with the various side effects of fasting because I did it a ton as a teenager: it was called “anorexia”. And it wasn’t fun. It wrecked my health and took me years to recover.

Any eating behaviors that involve restriction or rigid rules is concerning

Fasting 12-13 hours a day is safe but things get more complicated when you fast 16-18 hours

Related: How Flat Tummy Co gamed Instagram to sell women the unattainable ideal

Dr Tiffany Brown is worried about the extent to which it is treated as a ‘trend’ and framed in a largely positive light

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Oldham Evening ChronicleEating disordersChurchill and GallipoliReady to RumbleScone wars

Several years ago a journalist from the Oldham Evening Chronicle (Letters, 18 February) interviewed a group of female heads of voluntary sector organisations for International Women’s Day. Having given my name, I was asked: “Is that Miss or Mrs?” Answering “Ms”, I was told: “The Chronicle does not use the term ‘Ms’.” An elderly lady in the group who’d previously given her title as Mrs then shot back: “Actually, I’m a Ms too!” I don’t remember the article – possibly it was deemed unpublishable due to our extreme titling demands.
Danielle Lowy
Manchester

• Your article (Huge rise in number of people admitted to hospital with eating disorders, 16 February) could imply that this is a condition solely of young girls and women influenced by social media. Many men are affected as adults following histories of severe OCD and underlying problems sometimes linked to being on the autistic spectrum. Such men live often in misery and isolation.
Jane Ghosh
Bristol

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