Eating Disorders Help

This section provides a wide range of eating disorders help, with advice and information on a wide range of issues for all those affected by eating disorders.

It includes advice on how to recognise if you might have an eating disorder and what to do if you think your child or friend may be affected. We explain how to get treatment and give a step-by-step guide on how eating disorders treatment is organised.

If you are looking for more information about eating disorders we also have a section that provides detailed explanation about the causes and symptoms of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).

All of our factsheets have been written and reviewed by our team of specialists at Newbridge House.


Eating disorders can develop at any age, but most often affect people from the age of 14 to 25. Eating disorders commonly start at a time when you are becoming more independent, changing the way you eat and possibly feeling different about your body.
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Laxatives are a form of medication taken to treat constipation. There are many different types of laxatives and most are available over the counter without prescription. Laxative misuse involves taking this medication to get rid of food in order to lose weight. Some people with anorexia and bulimia take a large amount of laxatives as part of their harmful food behaviour.
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About a quarter of people with anorexia or associated eating disorders deliberately harm themselves. The most common way of self-harming is cutting with a sharp object. People may also burn themselves, pull out their own hair and take dangerous amounts of medication, drugs or alcohol.
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Eating disorders commonly develop from the age of 14. This is a time when young people are becoming more independent and parents often have less control over the food they eat. It can also be a time when your relationship with your child goes through many changes, often resulting in difficult conflicts. Equally, your child may become more distant from you.
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In our image-obsessed culture, we spend a lot of time thinking and talking about our body image. But you may have a friend who seems to have gone one step further, becoming obsessed about food and dieting. You are concerned that you friend might have an eating disorder and are not sure what to do.
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In order to properly diagnose an eating disorder, a full assessment needs to be made by your GP, a specialist nurse, psychiatrist or psychologist. This will include details about your symptoms and feelings, food intake, weight and blood tests.
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Food neophobia is a term which has gained currency recently as a tool for understanding difficulty with feeding and eating. It refers to an overwhelming fear of new or unfamiliar foods; ‘neophobia’ refers specifically to fear of new.
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It has been commonly stated that one in ten men have anorexia, bulimia or other type of eating disorder. Recent figures from the NHS Information Centre suggested the real figure is actually much higher, with 700,000 men being registered as having an eating disorder, a quarter of the total number of people affected.
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The first step is to discuss your concerns with your daughter or son. They will be experiencing many difficult emotions and may deny there is a problem, become angry with you, or withdraw. You may need to raise the subject several times before your child takes on board your concerns. Each time, emphasise that you want to offer help and support.
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We have produced several short films, or webcasts, to help explain our work, raise awareness of eating disorders and enable you to listen to our specialist staff.
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Exercise is recognised as being important for physical and psychological well being. It is recommended that everyone takes part in exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week. Many people exercise much more frequently than that and their activity levels are not harmful. They may be working towards sport or aerobic goals and gain a high degree of satisfaction from their exercise.
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Newbridge House has developed a range of films and information for schools.
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This diagram shows the journey through assessment, treatment and recovery.
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Anorexia (anorexia nervosa) has very serious physical effects and complications, as well as a devastating impact upon psychological well being.
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Bulimia is an eating disorder with physical effects on the body which are serious, harmful and left untreated, can result in long-term problems.
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NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has developed new quality standards that will apply to all assessments and services for children, young people and adults with an eating disorder.
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There will always be a number of factors in the development of an eating disorder and each individual will be affected by a unique combination. There is never one simple, single cause, although sometimes there may be one factor in a person’s life which plays a particularly prominent role in his or her eating disorder.
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It is important to start by recognising there are always a number of different factors involved in the development of eating disorders. Eating disorders develop when a person is unable to deal with difficult emotions and food becomes the channel for that distress. There are many different reasons why young people feel unable to cope with anxiety and every individual will have a unique experience. When eating disorders develop, it is not because parents have ‘done something wrong’.
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