...with Charlotte Watson 16 April 2013

Getting help if you have an eating problem

We know that for those who have an eating problem, taking the first step and asking for help can often be a very difficult, daunting prospect.

There can be many reasons for this but if you have any sort of worry, great or small, then asking for help is a very important first step. Early diagnosis and intervention significantly improves recovery, whereas if left the problem can become far worse and potentially life-threatening.

Talking to a close friend or family member may make you feel more comfortable. Often, just explaining the worries you have can make a difference, helping you feel less alone and meaning you have support on deciding what to do next. But if you feel unable to talk to someone you know, there are eating disorder/mental health charities that will be able to give you advice, support, motivation and encouragement. B-eat is a charity specifically created to support people with an eating disorder. Mind, a mental health charity, offers help and support to anyone with any sort of mental health problem.

It is likely that anyone you turn to for advice will suggest that you see your GP. Often people have worries that their GP may not believe them, but the vast majority will understand the serious nature of eating disorders. They will be able to give you advice and possibly refer you on to other, more specialist services if necessary.

Seeing your GP may be anxiety-provoking in the short term, but the long-term benefits will make up for this. If you’re feeling anxious about it, then it could be useful to bring a friend or family member along with you for support. Or if you’re worried that you may forget what you wanted to say then you could write it all down and bring your notes with you. Perhaps you could send a letter to the doctor a few days before your appointment if you’re worried that you won’t be able to tell them everything once you got there. If, for some reason, your GP doesn’t respond in the way you had hoped you can always get a second GP’s opinion.

Eating disorders are serious and no one should have to cope with them alone. Getting help is crucial. Whatever route you decide to go down for help, the most important thing is that you do so. If you have concerns about the eating habits of yourself or someone you know then it is important that you get in touch with either a GP or a charity such as B-eat or Mind. They will be able to give you tailored advice about where to go next and how you can beat this disorder.

Charlotte Watson

Assistant Psychologist

Charlotte Watson is an Assistant Psychologist at Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service