The Diagnosis of Eating Disorders
BBC Newsbeat today featured an article on the topic of GPs missing the diagnosis of eating disorders in the UK. The article comments on a survey conducted by the charity run organization, BEAT, which reports that 9 out of 10 people in touch with the organization feel that their GP demonstrated a lack of understanding of the disorder and how to treat, support and help those suffering from eating disorders. According to BEAT, many GPs would benefit from increasing their awareness of this life threatening disorder, in order to ensure better diagnosis and earlier intervention.
Professor Steve Field from the Royal College of GPs points out that not feeling understood accompanied by feelings of loneliness and isolation is often symptomatic of the eating disorder itself. However, these feelings might well be justifiable as GPs are rarely trained in nutritional medicine, and thus may fail to ask relevant questions that would assist in painting a clearer picture and a correct diagnosis. While one of the diagnostic criteria of Anorexia Nervosa is a BMI of less than 17.5, in many cases GPs are looking for even lower BMI’s before considering Anorexia as a possible diagnosis.
Crucially, GPs ought to be able to ask male and female patients direct questions about eating, exercising, purging, abnd body image issues, as these, combined with the physical presentation could result in a more accurate diagnostic picture. Ultimately this approach could prevent clients with a slightly higher BMI, as well as bulimic clients whose physical symptoms are far less overt, having their illness going undiagnosed.
There is naturally a cause for concern that NHS figures show that the number of teenagers under the age of sixteen going to hospital for treatment of Anorexia Nervosa has almost doubled in a decade. However, whether these figures reflect increasing awareness of the illness in society and thus an increase in numbers of clients in treatment is difficult to ascertain, although it would appear that eating disorders and obesity are on the increase in the UK.
In order to treat the underlying causes of any eating disorder, it is important to use a holistic approach thus offering medical, nutritional and psychological support. Life Works is a private residential treatment centre which offers the private and secure environment that is ideal for helping those suffering from eating disorders. If you or someone you know might be suffering in silence, give us a call for some advice.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
With National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in full swing, we at Life Works welcome this opportunity to shed some much needed light on the topic. NEDA week is a collective effort of primarily volunteers along with health professionals and individuals committed to raising awareness of this life threatening illness, while promoting access to the treatment and early intervention.
This year NEDA has invited everyone interested to do Just one Thing in order to raise awareness, and thus, starting today Life Works will publish a daily blog on eating disorders and highlight some of the attitudes, behaviors, and pressures that shape the disorder.