Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Early Intervention

When it comes to eating disorders, early intervention is so important. I often wonder what my life would be like if I would’ve had treatment much earlier on in my eating disorder. Looking back I just wish someone would’ve taken me seriously. My parents were called into school because I had been throwing my packed lunch away and concerned friends told teachers but other than that no action was taken. The school nurse’s response was to tell me that I didn’t want to end up like a girl in the year above me who had anorexia. On one occasion I did visit the GP but no further action was taken, there were no referrals to CAMHS or follow up appointments. I wasn’t referred to eating disorder services until I was 17, at which point I was years into my illness.

Early intervention is important because these illnesses are so easy to get stuck in. They take over the whole of who you are. Anorexia took over my body, my personality, my social life and eventually my identity. Food and weight were all I thought about and if I wasn’t obsessing over these I was exercising. It became my life and the longer it is your life, the harder it is to get out of. With early intervention comes quicker recovery and I believe there is more chance of making a full recovery too.

Early intervention isn’t just important in the beginnings of eating disorders but also when it comes to relapse. When I first relapsed with anorexia nervosa it took 13 months from referral to treatment by which point I was very poorly both physically and mentally. At the beginning of my relapse I had friends, a boyfriend, a part time job and I was studying A levels at college. At the start of treatment I hadn’t seen friends in months, I had broken up from my boyfriend, was unemployed and had lost my place at college due to my health. Now imagine if things had been different and I would’ve gotten treatment earlier on, I might’ve been able to make things work with my boyfriend and my job and college. I might not have lost my life to the illness and since losing it, I have yet to rebuild it.

Maybe with early intervention I wouldn’t be typing this from a hospital bed with an NG tube up my nose and maybe it would’ve saved a lot of heartache and pain not only for me but for my family too.

Eating disorders are potentially fatal illnesses and unfortunately some sufferers do die whether this be because of health complications or suicide. Early intervention would save lives.

So my message is this: Early intervention when it comes to eating disorders is key and life saving in more ways than one.

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2 thoughts on “Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Early Intervention

  1. This is so true and definitely an important thing for people to consider with the current situation in the NHS. I was hugely fortunate in that when my eating went downhill I was already in the services and my referral to the specialists who then diagnosed me with my eating disorder came through very quickly. If this hadn’t been the case then I would’ve been a lot more affected by my eating disorder than I have. I am lucky in this area of my experience with the mental health services even though the specialist was overweight and unhelpful. Early intervention is so important and it is the one of the only things that can and will make a difference to inpatient admissions.

    But we can’t rely on what ifs sadly. We have to fight for things to be better in the future than they were for us or are for us now.

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  2. I’m so sorry this happened to you. Prevention is so important but nobody takes these things seriously until all hell breaks loose. That’s why we have to change things. Thank you for sharing your story 🙂

    Like

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