Eating Disorders Awareness Week begins
People affected by eating disorders are being urged to seek the support they need as a national week of awareness kicks off.
Eating Disorders Awareness Week starts today in a bid to help the 1.6million people in the UK who are thought to suffer from the disorders.
Health bosses are highlighting all of the different sources available which can give support to the people struggling with this form of illness.
Sam Clark-Stone, lead clinician with 2gether NHS Foundation Trust's Eating Disorders Service, based in Cheltenham, said eating disorders are surprisingly common.
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"Eating disorders are relatively common, particularly in adolescent girls, which is the typical image people have when they think of this condition," he said.
"However, while most eating disorders start in adolescence, they can start in early adulthood and sometimes later. Boys and men do also develop eating disorders, although this is less common.
"Eating disorders can be very debilitating and have a lasting impact, both physically and mentally, as well as socially and in terms of education and employment.
"The condition can be very hard to treat as the person affected often doesn't see themselves as ill. Adolescents are usually brought to see us by their parents, although they often don't want to attend appointments.
"As well as professional health services, there are also a number of support groups in existence, so I would urge anyone who has an eating disorder or anyone who believes someone they know has one to seek help."
There are a number of support groups for people with eating disorders, including the Gloucestershire Beat (Eating Disorders Association) Support Group, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.
The group meets in Cirencester on the first Wednesday of each month.
To find out more about the Gloucestershire EDA Support Group please visit http://www.edglos.org.uk/edaposter.pdf or ring Pat Ayres on 01285 770385.
To read about 2gether's Eating Disorders Service click here: http://www.2gether.nhs.uk/files/Eating_Disorders_leaflet_web.pdf