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  • Top picks: Ten resources on eating disorders

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    Eating Disorders Awareness Week takes place 26 February - 3 March 2024

    Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that affect an estimated 1.25 million people in the UK. There are many unhelpful myths about who eating disorders affect, what the symptoms are and how to support people in recovery. Alongside a current lack of appropriately trained staff and capacity in mental health services, this can make it challenging for people with eating disorders to access the help and support they need.

    Patient Safety Learning has pulled together ten useful resources shared on the hub to help healthcare professionals, friends and family support people with eating disorders. They include awareness-raising articles, practical tips for patients and their loved ones, and clinical guidance for primary, secondary and mental health providers.


    ARFID: A brief evidence review for Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2024

    Avoidant/restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a severe feeding and eating disorder marked by food avoidance and/or restricted food intake. Individuals with ARFID can restrict the amount of food eaten, and therefore do not get enough calories, or they can restrict the range of foods eaten and therefore do not get all the nutrients needed for maintaining health. The charity Beat has produced an evidence review on ARFID.

    Leaflet - Seeking treatment for an eating disorder

    If someone suspects they may have an eating disorder, their first step in getting treatment is often a visit to their GP. This leaflet contains guidance for people who have, or suspect they may have, an eating disorder, as well as information for GPs and other people who may be supporting them. It’s based on the guideline on eating disorders from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which GPs should use when making decisions about patients’ healthcare.

    Feeding or eating disorders hub (NHS England)

    The NHS England MindEd all-age eating disorders hub is aimed at all professionals, from universal to specialist. It contains key trusted evidence-based learning, curated and approved by an expert panel. You can find information on NHS policy guidance, professional bodies' guidance, professional associations' reports, charities, NHS learning and good practice, legislation and reports, and key and influential texts.

    People with eating disorders should not face stigma in the health system and barriers to accessing support - a blog by Hope Virgo

    People with eating disorders often find it difficult to get help and treatment from the health system because of pervasive stigma, misinformation and stereotypes around eating disorders. This blog by eating disorder survivor and mental health campaigner, Hope Virgo, looks at the barriers people face when they try to access support for eating disorders in the UK. She talks about her own experience of being told she was ‘not thin enough for support’ and calls for long-overdue action on funding, training and awareness of eating disorders within the NHS.

    Medical emergencies in eating disorders (MEED): Guidance on recognition and management

    To tackle the serious harms, up to and including death, associated with eating disorders it is crucial that more is done to identify them at the earliest stage possible so that the appropriate care and treatment can be provided. This guidance by the Royal College of Psychiatrists provides a comprehensive overview of the latest evidence associated with eating disorders, including highlighting the importance and role of healthcare professionals from right across the spectrum recognising their responsibilities in this area.

    I survived diabulimia, the world’s most dangerous eating disorder

    Sarah Rainey talks about her experience of type 1 diabetes with disordered eating (T1DE), which is thought to affect up to 40% of women and 15% of men with type 1 diabetes. People with T1DE, sometimes also called diabulimia, limit their insulin intake to control their weight, which can have life-threatening consequences. Olivia describes how the stress of living with type 1 contributed to her developing T1DE, and how when she finally received treatment and support in her 30s, she was able to deal with her disordered eating and see her health and wellbeing improve.

    SAPHNA - Eating disorder toolkit

    This toolkit was co-produced by the School and Public Health Nurses Association (SAPHNA) with school nursing services, mental health campaigners, eating disorder experts, education colleagues and young people with lived-experience of eating disorders. It provides information and guidance for school nurses on how to identify and support students with eating disorders and their families, addressing issues such as consent, confidentiality and referral to specialist services.

    Tips poster: First signs of symptoms of an eating disorder

    When someone has an eating disorder, getting early support and treatment can make a huge difference to their recovery. That’s why it's important that everyone can spot the first signs and symptoms of an eating disorder. This poster by the charity Beat Eating Disorders offers tips to help you spot the very first signs of an eating disorder.

    Eating disorders: a guide for friends and family

    This booklet from Beat Eating Disorders is for anyone supporting someone with an eating disorder. It covers information about eating disorders and treatment, and offers guidance on how you might approach the subject if you’re worried about someone you know and how to support them after diagnosis, as well as looking after yourself.

    10 Medical emergencies in eating disorders: Guidance on recognition and management

    People with eating disorders can reach a crisis point where their condition becomes a medical emergency resulting in serious harm or even death. This guidance from the Royal College of Psychiatrists makes a series of recommendations for primary care, secondary care and mental health services that aim to make preventable deaths due to eating disorders a thing of the past. There are specific recommendations focused on the needs of children with eating disorders, recognising the physiological differences between adults and children.

    Have your say

    • Are you a healthcare professional who works with people with eating disorders? We would love to hear your insights and share resources you have developed.
    • Perhaps you have received treatment for an eating disorder—what was your experience of healthcare services?

    We would love to hear from you! 

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