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Found 13 results
  1. Content Article
    I was experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and when I became unable to complete a sentence or walk to the bathroom, my GP advised me to go to hospital. I have mental health difficulties and one of the staff recognised me from when I had been admitted previously, following a suicide attempt. I felt that I was treated like a 'frequent flyer' of A&E and that my symptoms were taken less seriously than they would have been otherwise. I was sent home after my tests for Covid came back negative and was told that it was just anxiety. I got much worse over the coming days. If I had tested negative, why was I feeling desperately unwell with all the published symptoms of Covid? I thought that I should be physically active if I didn't have Covid-19, so I pushed myself and berated myself when I repeatedly became unable to breath with a pounding heart upon any exertion. I couldn't cope caring for my four children and was in a 'critical' dangerous mental state many times. I self-harmed to try and cut off from feeling so awful. My physical health deteriorated. The ambulance was called by the GP who had sent a nurse to assess my oxygen levels and the paramedic said I should be in a coma according to my obs. This made me feel less like I was making it up, but it was still in my head despite my husband telling me repeatedly that the results of the test are 30% wrong. The paramedic gave me oxygen and I protested strongly against going to hospital a second time. The paramedic insisted I went, put me on oxygen and reassured me he would ask the hospital staff to relate to me as a patient who was showing clear signs of Covid and that I did struggle with my mental health but that I was doing my best to recover. I also asked the paramedics to inform the hospital staff about my eating disorder so they could gently help me to manage my low blood sugar without judgements and causing me further shame. In the hospital I saw a Dr who confirmed that I did have Covid-19 and that my test must have been a 'false negative'. I had felt judged, dismissed and had doubted myself. The first thing anyone I spoke to asked was whether or not I had had a test and whether it was positive. The negative test result isolated me from calling family and greeting neighbours as I didn't have the energy to go into the false negative answer. I found that saying my test was 'negative' sparked a surge of invalidation of everything I was experiencing. The isolation caused me further significant harm to my mental health. Among other fleeting symptoms I have had overwhelming fatigue, breathlessness, sweats or chills, no smell or taste, a rash, headaches and low mood. After nearly four weeks I am slowly recovering. I am lucky to have a social worker, family support worker and psychologist available over the phone through this period, so I do feel my family and I are supported. But I am interested to know if anyone else has found their symptoms are being quickly dismissed as anxiety when they are sure they have the virus? Or if anyone else feels like they haven't had their symptoms taken as seriously because of their mental health difficulties?
  2. News Article
    Patients with the most severe eating disorders have received the least support during the COVID-19 pandemic, a leading expert has warned. Dr Agnes Ayton, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists eating disorder faculty, told HSJ that although it was an achievement that services had implemented digital consultations so quickly, for the most severe and high-risk patients this would not work as well. She also warned that some specialist eating disorder units across the country have had to limit admissions and run below full capacity. Her warning comes after a leading charity for eating disorders, Beat, said it has seen a 35% increase in calls to its national helpline since the pandemic began. Read full story Source: HSJ, 1 May 2020
  3. Content Article
    In my current role I oversee the therapy programme for the Eating Disorders Unit (EDU) and see in-patients, day-patients and out-patients for individual and group therapy. I work with both adults and children with eating disorders, depression and anxiety, and use evidence-based therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). A case study Lucy* is a 25-year-old interior designer who is seeking treatment for anorexia. She was an inpatient on our EDU. Throughout the whole admission there is a strong focus on patient safety. One of Lucy’s goals was to gain weight to a safer weight, but the increases were very gradual to avoid refeeding syndrome. At the beginning of her stay and all throughout we carried out regular risk assessments to check her risk to herself and also to others. Lucy had her bloods monitored throughout and was regularly observed for physical symptoms. In terms of the therapy, our focus was looking at the role that anorexia played in Lucy’s life. To do this we did a collaborative formulation which was continually evolving. This helped Lucy to make more sense of her illness and understand what it meant to her. Lucy was able to articulate that her anorexia made her feel ‘special’ and also was a way of managing difficult feelings such as feeling upset and angry by her parents’ divorce. Lucy was also able to identify that feelings were not spoken about in her family, so she did not have the ability to identify and name feelings. Lucy did very well in therapy managing both the physical and mental challenge of gaining weight. Over time, Lucy found different ways of managing her feelings such as talking to others, distracting herself and writing a journal. An essential part of our work is relapse management and ensuring that patients learn from their ‘blips’ instead of viewing them as failings. Key learning points I am flexible in tailoring treatment to patients’ needs and it is important to build a warm and trusting therapeutic relationship with patients. As part of my role I work closely with the multidisciplinary team and regularly present to other healthcare professionals about the complexities of treating people with eating disorders and related conditions and to ensure the patient's safety is always met. Here are some of my suggestions when treating children and adults with eating disorders: It is important to remember that whilst sometimes people with eating disorders can look very emaciated and frail, at other times they can be a normal weight and look well. It is therefore vital that health professionals do not solely use weight to diagnose an eating disorder. People with eating disorders often have a great deal of shame and so may not readily disclose their symptoms and instead may present with physical problems such as bowel problems. It is helpful if health professionals ask question such as "do you ever restrict your food" or "do you ever experience guilt after eating". Treatment for an eating disorder involves monitoring both the physical and psychological health of the patient. In order to ensure the physical safety of patients, tasks include monitoring electrolyte levels, assessing for risk and assessing patients nutritional and fluid levels. Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses in which patients use food in different ways to cope with difficult feelings. Health professionals should aim to build a positive therapeutic relationship with patients and should have a non-judgmental and accepting attitude towards them. *Name and details of patient have been changed to preserve confidentiality.
  4. News Article
    Although community-based treatment can improve outcomes for people with eating disorders, it must not be at the expense of vital inpatient services, says Lorna Collins in an article today in the Guardian supporting Eating Disorders Awareness Week. No single treatment or approach works for every patient experiencing an eating disorder and it is extremely hard to get help; there is too little money in the system to provide enough care. "Speaking to patients, carers and clinicians, I am struck by the sheer desperation of so many people saying the system has failed them. Too many find that nothing is done until they are at death’s door. Others say no one talks about binge-eating disorder, which is still too often seen as a weakness or a problem that dieting can fix, rather than a real eating disorder," says Lorna. Clinicians, too, paint a gloomy picture of the state of services. Oxford-based eating disorder consultant Agnes Ayton, who chairs the faculty of eating disorders at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, is frank about the problems. She believes NHS eating disorder services are on their knees and desperately need more money after years of austerity. However, there are some encouraging signs. In West Yorkshire and Harrogate, consultant psychiatrist William Rhys Jones, who works for the Connect community and inpatient eating disorders service, says he is seeing real change. Connect’s community outreach teams deliver home-based treatment for people with severe and enduring eating disorders. This is one of the NHSE new care models and Jones says results so far have been very positive. Clinical community services and early intervention result in a good prognosis, he says – and it is cost effective. While inpatient treatment costs about £434 a day, community treatment costs about £20 to £35 a day, with similar or even improved clinical outcomes. While there are concerns about limiting inpatient treatment and prioritising community treatment simply because it may be cheaper, positive examples like this can help hold the NHS to its promise to make treatment truly open to all who need it. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 2 March 2020
  5. News Article
    A woman described as a "high risk" anorexia patient faced delays in treatment after moving to university, an inquest has heard. Madeline Wallace, 18, from Cambridgeshire, was told there could be a six-week delay in her seeing a specialist after moving to Edinburgh. The student "struggled" while at university and a coroner said there appeared to be a "gap" in her care. Ms Wallace died on 9 January 2018 due to complications from sepsis. A parliamentary health service ombudsman report into her death was being written at the time of Ms Wallace's treatment in 2017 and issues raised included moving from one provider to another and higher education. Coroner Sean Horstead said Ms Wallace only had one dietician meeting in three months, despite meal preparation and planning being an area of anxiety she had raised. Dr Hazel said she had tried to make arrangements with the Cullen Centre in Edinburgh in April 2017 but had been told to call back in August. The Cullen Centre said it could only accept her as a patient after she registered with a GP and that an appointment could take up to six weeks from that point. Read full story Source: BBC News, 10 February 2020
  6. Content Article
    This short video, by the National Eating Disorders Association, interviews numerous people with eating disorders to find out some of the risk factors causing the disorder.
  7. Content Article
    This web page addresses some of the myths around eating disorders and includes videos of patients with eating disorders talking about their experiences.
  8. News Article
    Multiple failings have been found in the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman's (PHSO) investigation into the death of a young woman with anorexia. PHSO has admitted to multiple failings in how it handled a three-and-a-half year investigation into the systemic failings by NHS providers in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk which led to the death of Averil Hart in 2012. The findings come as a senior coroner in Cambridgeshire investigates whether there are links between the failures in Averil’s care and that of four other women with an eating disorder who were under the care of the same services. The PHSO’s failings have been revealed in an internal review, published today, which ruled the regulator’s investigation took too long and should’ve been completed in half the time. It also found “insufficient” resource was allocated to the Averil’s investigation, despite staff requesting it, which led to significant delays. Read full story Source: HSJ, 10 January 2020
  9. News Article
    A quarter of children referred for specialist mental health care because of self-harm, eating disorders and other conditions are being rejected for treatment, a new report has found. The study by the Education Policy Institute warns that young patients are waiting an average of two months for help, and frequently turned away. It follows research showing that one in three mental health trusts are only accepting cases classed as the most severe. GPs have warned that children were being forced to wait until their condition deteriorated - in some cases resulting in a suicide attempt - in order to get to see a specialist. Read full story Source: The Telegraph, 10 January 2020
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