Cotswolds support group for people affected by eating disorders
11:09am Friday 15th February 2013 in News
THIS is national Eating Disorders Awareness Week which aims to turn the spotlight on a range of conditions thought to affect more than 1.6million people in the UK.
One of the aims of the awareness week is to raise the profile of some of the organisations and sources of help available to those affected.
Sam Clark-Stone is the lead clinician with 2gether NHS Foundation Trust’s Eating Disorders Service, based in Cheltenham.
“Eating disorders are relatively common, particularly in adolescent girls, which is the typical image people have when they think of this condition,” he said.
“However, while most eating disorders start in adolescence, they can start in early adulthood and sometimes later. Boys and men do also develop eating disorders, although this is less common.
“Eating disorders can be very debilitating and have a lasting impact, both physically and mentally, as well as socially and in terms of education and employment."
He said it was often hard to treat as sufferers often did not consider themselves ill.
Eating disorders – which include anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating - mean the sufferer judges their self-worth in terms of their weight, shape and control of eating.
Treatments can range from family support to admission to hospital.
Pat Ayres MBE, of Kemble, runs Gloucestershire Beat (Eating Disorders Association) Support Group, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.
Pat said: “We always welcome new people into our group. I know from personal experience how traumatic and isolating supporting someone with an eating disorder can be, and I’m pleased we’ve been able to offer help to those suffering for such a long time.”
Anyone concerned a loved one or friend may be suffering from an eating disorder can look out for the following warning signs:
• Weight loss
• Dizziness, tiredness and fainting
• Feeling cold
• Strange behaviour around food
• Hiding, collecting and storing food
• Secretive eating
• Excessive exercising
• Fear of gaining weight
• Self dislike
• Excessive perfectionism
Gloucestershire Beat meets in Cirencester on the first Wednesday of each month.
For more information click the link above or call Pat Ayres on 01285 770385.
There is also a support group for adults and carers of thosee with eating disorders that meets in Cheltenham fortnightly on Tuesday evenings. For details call 01242 634242.