Urgent action needed to stem increase in eating disorders

Eating disorder

​Clinical solutions could stem rise in Scots seeking help for eating disorders 

2nd November 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Urgent action is needed to stem the tide of eating disorders in Scotland as new figures reveal a significant rise in the problem in the last 10 years.

Figures show 726 people were treated in 2015/16 - a 66% increase on 2005/06 when 436 people were treated.

Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are life threatening mental illnesses where individuals experience low self-esteem, shame, denial and secrecy and often also suffer from depression, obsessive compulsive tendencies and occasionally psychotic symptoms and delusions.

Campaigners say increased exposure to images of celebrities’ bodies through social media is behind a rise in hospitalisations, particularly amongst young girls.

Tom Quinn, director of external affairs with the eating disorder charity Beat, called on the Scottish Government to introduce access and waiting times targets and ensure the funding is in place to meet them.

“Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses, and many people face barriers to the treatment they need," he said.

"We know from people who contact us for support, both from Scotland and the rest of the UK, that many individuals do not get the treatment they need, or are past the point at which they have the best chance for recovery by the time they do."

Dr Fiona Duffy, chairman of the Scottish Eating Disorders Interest Group said  published data only represents "a fraction of people presenting with eating disorders.

She added: "The Scottish Eating Disorder Interest Group feel strongly that while inpatient admissions are essential, the only way to reduce such admissions is to enhance the provision of evidence based psychological treatments being offered in community settings across Scotland that can be accessed quickly when someone is in need. 

"Early intervention is essential in the successful treatment of eating disorders. Our members feel strongly that increased resources are needed to support effective early intervention for children, young people and adults suffering from eating disorders, using skilled and specialist clinicians."