What is an eating disorder
An eating disorder is a mental health condition and can negatively affect physical health, psychological and emotional wellbeing and day-to-day activities, such as friendships, interests and school. Anyone can get an eating disorder, but teenagers between 13 and 17 are mostly affected.
The most common symptoms of an eating disorder are disordered eating behaviour and a preoccupation with body image. It is more than just going on a diet and can take over your life.
Signs of eating disorders
Eating disorders can be different from person to person. The general signs include:
- spending a lot of time worrying about your weight and body shape
- secretive behaviour around food
- self-consciousness when eating in front of others
- making yourself sick or taking laxatives after you eat
- low self-esteem
- sudden or drastic changes in diet
- large changes in weight, both up and down
- irritability and mood swings
- social isolation
- feelings of shame, guilt and anxiety
- exercising a lot
- going to the bathroom a lot after eating
Specific eating disorders
If you experience Anorexia Nervosa, you restrict how much you eat to the point that your body is not getting the energy and nutrition it needs to be healthy. Alongside this, there is usually a strong fear of gaining weight and distorted ideas about how you look.
If you experience Bulimia Nervosa, you may find that you eat lots of food at once, sometimes feeling like you cannot stop. This is called bingeing, and often comes after feeling low, upset or worried. You may then feel guilty or ashamed after bingeing and do things to try and get rid of the food, which is called purging.
Binge eating disorder
Binge eating disorder means eating large quantities over a short period of time, even if you aren't hungry or feel like you don't want to do it, you feel out of control of the binge. Afterwards you may feel shame, distress or guilt.
Avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
ARFID is when someone avoids certain foods, limits how much they eat or does both. Beliefs about weight or body shape are not reasons why people develop ARFID. Possible reasons for ARFID include negative feelings over the smell, taste or texture of certain foods.
Atypical eating disorder or other specified feeding and Eeating disorder (OSFED)
This means you meet some but not all the criteria for an eating disorder like Bulimia or Anorexia or have a combination of symptoms from more than one. Atypical or OSFED can be a confusing diagnosis. It can seem like you are being told your problems are not as serious as other eating disorders, but this is not true. Atypical/OSFED is just as serious.
The development of an eating disorder is quite complicated. Eating disorders can be triggered by lots of different things such as:
- a person's genetics
- their biology
- stressful life events at home
- school or friendships
- trying to cope with difficult emotions
Often it can be a combination of all these things. We do know that anyone of any age, can develop an eating disorder.
Eating Disorder clinic
The Eating Disorder clinic is held every Tuesday from 9am to 8pm at Liberté House, La Motte Street, St Helier.
Parent's and young people are invited to the clinic for assessment, review, monitoring of physical health, psychological progress, concerns and pharmacological intervention, if appropriate.
Additional support outside of the clinic will be offered where clinically indicated. This may include dietetic support, individual one to one sessions or family therapy, subject to waiting list.
Eating disorder pathway
Accessing the eating disorder service
Referrals can be made by your GP, healthcare professional or educational professional.
All referrals to CAMHS are processed during a weekly meeting. They are screened by management to determine the appropriate pathway for each young person. If Eating Disorder Service is indicated the following flowchart will be followed:
Eating disorder team
The eating disorder team have specialist training and experience in working with children and young people with significant eating disorders.
We help young people to work towards recovery from their eating disorder by providing evidence-based support to manage physical, psychological, emotional and mental wellbeing.
- Consultant Psychiatrist
- Specialist Nurse Practitioner
- Family Therapist
- Health Care Assistant
- administration staff
We provide a range of treatments techniques, which are evidence based and recovery focused:
- collaborative working with young persons and their family
- regular clinic appointments with consultant and nurse to monitor physical observations, review progress and determine future care plan
- where clinically indicated, support outside of clinic will be offered for family therapy, skills group or individual therapy sessions.