Eating disorder charity, Beat recently carried out a survey and the findings revealed that almost half of sufferers have to wait a shocking six months or more before they receive any kind of treatment.
Worryingly, 19% of those surveyed had to wait an unacceptable 12 months before they were offered any kind of professional help or support. Aside from the ongoing trauma and health implications of suffering with an eating disorder, one of the biggest concerns about these long wait times is the fact that any delay in treatment contributes to sufferers from becoming trapped in a repeating cycle of illness.
It’s not just the length of time patients have to wait once they have asked for help that is a concern however. There is also a huge delay in sufferers actually acknowledging that they have a problem and seeking help in the first place. Out of the 500 people surveyed, two in five waited more than a year to talk to someone once they had become aware that they had a problem.
The report concluded that:
“Most sufferers are trapped in a repeating cycle of seeking help, waiting for diagnoses, waiting for and receiving treatment and ultimately, relapsing and requiring repeat treatment. The average length of that cycle is six years.”
Considering that anorexia is said to have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, health experts are desperately urging the government to do more so that treatment can be offered immediately. The report has also called for greater awareness in schools with teachers and pupils being trained in how to identify symptoms.
To learn more about eating disorders, check out our Eating Disorder Knowledge Centre. If you are worried that you or someone you know may be suffering with an eating disorder, please feel free to visit our Eating Disorder Treatment Page for more information about the signs, symptoms and help available. You can also get help by calling us today.