Growing Numbers of Eating Disorder Hospitalisations in Wales
Over a single year the number of people with eating disorders admitted to hospital in Wales increased by 10%. This amounts to 14 more people admitted to hospital during 2012 compared to 2011.
While that number may seem low, it is important to remember that someone who has to be admitted to hospital for an eating disorder has done a serious amount of physical harm as a result of their ED. Most people with an eating disorder will be put into therapy or another treatment. The only reason for a hospital visit is to treat a serious medical problem caused by the ED or to re-feed a person until they are at a healthy enough weight to start treatment.
A Beat Cymru spokesperson said, “The increase in hospital admissions for people with eating disorders is concerning and could indicate that people have been unable to access support at an earlier stage in their illness.”
“We should also recognise that these figures are the tip of the iceberg, as they only show inpatient admissions we know that the majority of individuals are treated as outpatients within their community as well as in private treatment centres – or worst still, not treated at all.”
“The sooner someone receives treatment the more likely they are to make a full recovery and the less likely they will need to spend time in specialist facilities, sometimes far away from their home and support networks. It is crucial that local, community based eating disorder services are fully accessible so that people are able to get the help they need in a timely manner.”
Prompt treatment is important for two reasons when treating eating disorders. People with an ED often do not receive proper nutrition which means their bodies can sustain long term damage the longer the person goes without treatment. The disease itself also becomes more engrained the longer it is left unchecked. It seeps into every aspect of a person’s life and becomes incredibly hard to treat. In essence, each day an ED goes untreated, it becomes stronger, more deeply rooted and more resistant to treatment. The person with the ED also becomes weaker physically meaning that, even if they want to recover, it becomes more of a challenge.
To learn more about eating disorders, check out the Lifeworks Knowledge Centre.