...with Dr Frances Connan 24 February 2014

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2014

This week (24 February - 2 March) is Eating Disorders Awareness Week, marked to raise awareness and understanding of this serious mental health illness, and to challenge stereotypes and stigmas.

The Trust provides specialist care for a range of eating problems through our clinic at Vincent Square. We will be focused on raising awareness and aim to hold a number of initiatives during the week. You can keep up-to-date wth our eating disorders blog posts.

The Trust will also be supporting B-eat, an eating disorders charity. B-eat launched the 'Sock it to eating disorders' campaign last year with great success and hopes to raise further funds this year. We encourage everyone to get involved through sponsored sock-themed events. 

It is important to remember that anyone can develop an eating disorder. Eating disorders come in lots of different forms, and experiences vary, so even if you think that they may not affect you or your loved ones, you might be surprised. In particular, not everyone with an eating disorder is fearful of being fat, or striving for thinness. Over 1.6million people in the UK are affected by eating disorders including men and women of all ages and backgrounds. 

One of the signs and symptoms that someone is suffering with an eating disorder may be that they read a lot on the topic. In the current age of the internet, there are many sites out there that are positive, helpful and geared to recovery. But there are also many sites that are not recovery-oriented. Often these sites promote eating disorders as a lifestyle, to the detriment of those visiting the sites. These negative sites encourage people to stay immersed in their behaviours and to avoid their feelings. They do not provide an incentive to work on healing from any of the underlying issues and emotions which drive the eating disorder.

We understand that suffering with an eating disorder is tough and can feel very lonely at times. If you are worried about your eating, or that of someone you know, sharing your concern with someone can be the first step to feeling less isolated, and getting some help. Often a close family member or friend is a good place to start. You can also talk to your GP, who will be able to give you advice and refer you on to an eating disorder service, if necessary. Or you can call the confidential helplines run byB-eat.

Through Twitter, the blog and testimonials from patients on our website www.cnwl.nhs.uk/vincent-square we provide motivation, support and helpful information - not only to our own service users and carers but to the wider public.

Dr Frances Connan

Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Frances Connan is Clinical Director for Vincent Square Eating Disorders Service