What help is available if you have an eating disorder?

Treatment available

Mental health professionals can help diagnose an eating disorder and any physical problems resulting from it. You can access help by speaking to your GP who can refer you to a mental health professional. In general outpatient treatment is preferred unless there is serious physical or psychological instability.  The long-term aim will be to help you change your attitude, behaviour and ways of thinking, to help you recover or cope with your eating disorder. Treatments can include:

Self help - in both anorexia nervosa and bulimia, self-help strategies can be very helpful. (please see refer to the end of the leaflet for useful books/websites)

Psychological and psychotherapy - with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder a course of psychotherapy (cognitive behavioural or interpersonal) can be effective. Psychological and psychotherapy intervention can help those caring for you understand why the illness developed and how to help you overcome it. Especially in young people with anorexia, psychological treatment may involve both the individual with the illness and other family members.

Medication - sometimes medication to reduce the urge to binge or to treat symptoms of depression or anxiety can be used.

Hospital treatment - you might need to be admitted to hospital if you are dangerously underweight. Staff will help you control your eating and talk about your problems in a supervised and structured environment.

What can I do to help myself?

  • Don't be afraid or ashamed. Talk to somebody you can trust about your problems.
  • Stay in contact with friends and family who will support you.
  • Self-help books can provide help and advice on how to improve your eating.
  • Voluntary organisations and helpful websites can also provide initial support.
  • Remember that you don't have to do it all on your own as overcoming an eating disorder is a long and difficult journey and sometimes professional help is necessary.

Useful organisations

beat - beating eating disorders

Helpline: 0845 634 1414 (people aged 18+, open Mon to Fri 10:30am -

8:30pm, Sat 1:00pm - 4:30pm, Bank Holidays 11:30am - 2:30pm)

Email: help@b-eat.co.uk

Youthline: 0845 634 7650 (people aged 25 and under, open Mon-Fri

4:30pm - 8:30pm, Sat 1:00pm - 4:30pm, Bank Holidays 11:30am - 2:30pm)

Txt: 07786 20 18 20

Email: fyp@b-eat.co.uk

beat is a national charity for people with eating disorders and their families. beat provides helplines for adults and young people, online support and local self-help groups.

North London Eating Disorders Group - beat network

Email: northlondongroup@aol.com

Tel: 07962 392908

Website: http://www.organiclemon.org/

The North London Eating Disorders Group is registered with beat. The group welcomes men and women aged 18+ generally living in Barnet, Enfield and Haringey.

Eating Disorder Hope

Web: www.eatingdisorderhope.com

American website offering information, eating disorder treatment options, recovery tools and resources to those suffering from eating disorders, their treatment providers and loved ones.

Young Minds

Tel: 0808 802 5544 (Parents support line)

Web: www.youngminds.org.uk

Young Minds is a UK charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Services include a support line for parents and online resources for children and young people.

Online CBT resources

Overcoming Bulimia - http://www.overcomingbulimiaonline.co.uk

Overcoming Anorexia - http://www.overcominganorexiaonline.co.uk

Helpful books

  • Breaking free from anorexia nervosa: a survival guide for families, friends and sufferers by Janet Treasure (Psychology Press).
  • Anorexia nervosa and bulimia: how to help by M. Duker & R. Slade (Open University Press).
  • Eating Disorders: A parents' guide by Rachel Bryant-Waugh and Brian Lask (Penguin Books).
  • Bulimia Nervosa and Binge eating: A guide to recovery by P. J. Cooper and Christopher Fairbairn (Constable and Robinson).
  • Overcoming binge eating by Christopher Fairburn (Guildford Press).
  • Getting better BITE by BITE: A survival kit for sufferers of bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders by Janet Treasure and Ulrike Schmidt (Hove Psychology Press).
  • Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders (ANRED).
  • Self-help tips: http://www.anred.com/slf_hlp.html
  • For more information about conditions and local services available to help, please visit: www.beh-mht.nhs.uk

More information about understanding Eating Disorders and our Eating Disorders Service.

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