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Eating Disorders: Just The Facts

Eating disorders are serious mental health illnesses and may be life threatening.

They affect people both physically and emotionally.

There are many reasons why a young person can become affected by an eating disorder. These include social factors, such as what we see in magazines or peer pressure and comparing ourselves to other people. There are some genetic links to eating disorders and other stressful situations may play a role too, such as exams, transitions or relationship concerns.

It’s important to remember there is no one cause of eating disorders, and anyone can be affected.

The most common eating disorders are ‘anorexia nervosa’ and ‘bulimia nervosa’.  Other food-related disorders, like binge eating disorder can also be problematic for some young people.

Who can develop an eating disorder?

Eating disorders can affect anyone, irrelevant of age, gender, religion and cultural background.

We know sometimes factors such as being male or from a BME community can hinder people seeking help as they may worry they won’t be taken seriously or their behaviour will be seen as normal for their community.  It’s important that anyone affected by eating disorder has the opportunity to get support early, to help make sense of and manage the very difficult effects of the eating disorder.

Can you recover from an eating disorder?

YES! With the right support to help you mentally and physically, it is possible to overcome an eating disorder. Getting help early can really boost your chances of making a full and lasting recovery.

Recovery is unique to each individual. However, it generally means living a life where your thoughts are not dominated by calories or the number on the scales. It’s living a life that where you enjoy spending time with the people you love, doing the things you love whilst eating free of guilt.

If you’re worried about yourself or a friend, please go and see your GP, school nurse or speak to a trusted adult as soon as possible.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

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Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.

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