Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2008: Tracy interviews Charlotte Allinson from eating disorder charity ‘beat’

Eating Disorder Awareness Week is this week; Monday 25th Feb to Sunday 2nd March. I asked Charlotte Allinson at eating disorder charity beat to tell me more about the issues involved and beat’s work in tackling them.kahovka-service

Logo of beat - beating eating disorders

TD: Who is beat?

CA: beat is the UK’s national charity helping people affected by eating disorders. This can be sufferers, carers, friends, relative and professionals.

beat’s aims are to change the way everyone thinks and talks about eating disorders, to improve the way services and treatment are provided, and to help anyone believe that their eating disorder can be beaten. We do this by challenging the stereotypes and stigma that people with eating disorders face, campaigning for better services and treatment and providing information, support and encouragement to seek treatment and recovery.

TD: What’s the goal of Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW)?

CA: The goal of EDAW is to raise awareness of eating disorders and the issues of those affected by eating disorders. Every EDAW we produce a report and launch this at the House of Commons. The subject this year is ‘Failing Families’, we have reported on how families are being failed in a number of ways, such as not receiving the treatment and care that their loved ones need and not getting the support needed to care for someone suffering from an eating disorder. We have also released 5 video clips produced by young people to educate different audiences about eating disorders.  [TDDownload the report (pdf format) ]

TD: How widespread are eating disorders in the UK, and do they affect males as much as females?

CA: There are an estimated 1.1 million people in the UK affected by eating disorders. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. 10% of people with eating disorders are male.

TD: So how do you tell the difference between an eating disorder and a short-term change in eating habits?

CA: The difference is that eating disorders are not just about food or eating habits, they are very much about a person’s emotions and feelings. Eating disorders develop as a way of trying to control parts of a person’s life that they feel are out of control and as the eating disorder develops it takes control of the sufferer.

TD: Are there any common causes of/triggers for eating disorders?

CA: Common cause are low self esteem, negative body image, a traumatic event, family struggle, bullying, a need to be perfect.

TD: Where can people with eating disorders get help?

CA: It is important that someone suffering from an eating disorder does get help; at first this can be by talking to someone they trust. They can also contact beat in a number of ways; we have helplines and e-mail services. Our website has a large amount of information and support. It is also very important to seek help from a G.P. as they can assess a person’s general health and refer them on to more specific help.

TD: How can friends and relatives help someone with an eating disorder?

CA: Family and friends often feel helpless because eating disorders can cause the sufferer to change their personality, they may not want to spend time with friends or family, they may have mood swings and lose their temper, they may also reject any help or support that is offered to them. It is important that friends and family are as patient as they can be and let the person know that they are there to support and help them when they are ready. Friends and family can also go onto our website to find out more about eating disorders and can contact our helplines and e-mail services for support.

Beat have loads of videos on YouTube for sufferers, friends & family, members of the public and professionals. View the videos here.

If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, there is a lot of help and support available to you to help you beat it; you don’t have to suffer alone. For more information, see the links below:
<a href="" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', 'http://www.mentalhealth achat viagra’, ‘’]);” > (US site) (US site) (Australasia)

[This interview first appeared as an article on the Soul Ambition site in 2008.]

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