Where to go for support when you have an eating disorder

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses that anyone can develop, regardless of age, income and ethnicity. Take a look at some of the common signs of eating disorders and where to go for support if you need help.
Headshot of a young woman

According to Beat Eating Disorders there are an estimated 1.25 million people in the UK with an eating disorder. Eating disorders vary a lot from person to person and can be challenging to identify.   

Could I have an eating disorder?   

Some of the common behaviours suggesting you or a family member may have an eating disorder can include:  

  • distorted beliefs about your body;  
  • eating large quantities of food at once;  
  • getting rid of the food eaten through making yourself sick, frequent fasting, going to toilet after meals or other unhealthy means;  
  • a combination of the above.  

If you’re worried about yourself or someone else, seek help as quickly as possible, as this gives the greatest chance of a full recovery.  

It was a struggle and it is a constant struggle; you do not know who to turn to get help for your child and there are not enough people who know enough about eating disorders.
— Parent talking to Healthwatch Northamptonshire

Where to go for support

  • Contact your GP
    If you think that you have an eating disorder you should contact your local GP. They will ask you about your eating habits and lifestyle. If they think that you might have an eating disorder they will refer you to a specialist. 
  • Talk to a friend or family member
    It can be very hard to admit you have a problem and ask for help. Start by talking to a friend or family member. You could even bring them with you to your appointment to make you feel more comfortable.
  • Talk to an advisor 
    Beat - The UK's Eating Disorder Charity - has advisors who can talk to you about the different types of eating disorders, and provide information about recovery and the support available to you. Take a look at their website or contact them using the details below: 

Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677 

help@beateatingdisorders.org.uk

Youthline: 0808 801 0711 

fyp@beateatingdisorders.org.uk

What should services do to help?

  • Provide quicker access to support. Beat has warned that during the pandemic NHS waiting lists to see a specialist have grown alarmingly.  
  • Raise awareness of eating disorders and make information about local treatment and support easy to access. 
  • Offer more information about support groups to help people support a family member or struggling with an eating disorder. 

Advice and information

Do you or a family member need advice and information about eating disorder services? Contact your local Healthwatch.

Talk to your local Healthwatch

Talk to your local Healthwatch

You can help make health and care services better by sharing your experiences and ideas. Talk to your local Healthwatch.

Find your nearest Healthwatch