Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is a health condition. Anyone can develop an eating disorder, regardless of their age or gender. Not everyone who has an eating disorder is underweight.

When someone has an eating disorder, they can have an unhealthy relationship with food which can make them ill. It might involve eating too much or too little or becoming obsessed with controlling their weight. The most common types of eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia nervosa: Worrying about weight or body image, and behaving in a way that keeps weight down. For example, not eating enough food or exercising too much. This can result in the child or young person becoming very ill
  • Bulimia nervosa: Going through periods of eating a lot of food quickly ('bingeing') and then trying to get rid of calories in unhealthy ways. For example, by making themselves sick, using laxatives ('purging'), exercising too much, taking medication or using diet supplements
  • Binge-eating disorder: Regularly eating large portions of food all at once (often in secret) until they feel uncomfortably full, and then often upset or guilty
  • OSFED: this means 'other specified feeding or eating disorder' and means they don't have all the typical symptoms of one of the types above – it does not mean it is a less serious illness.

When an eating disorder gets really bad it can put someone’s life at risk. However, there are treatments that can help, and people can recover from an eating disorder; the sooner that support can be identified, the better the chance of recovery.

Children and young people with eating disorders often have other mental health problems as well, such as anxiety.

Physical symptoms in severe eating disorders might include:

  • Symptoms of starvation e.g. feeling cold or dizzy
  • Stomach or digestive problems which have no obvious cause
  • Problems with teeth (some people with an eating disorder make themselves sick to get rid of the food that they have eaten and the acids from the stomach then cause damage to teeth)
  • Females may find periods become affected; they can stop or become irregular

  • Anorexia Nervosa: A Survival Guide for Families, Friends and Sufferers by Janet Treasure
  • Boys Get Anorexia Too: Coping with Male Eating Disorders in the Family by Jenny Langley
  • Compassionate Mind Approach to Beating Overeating by Kenneth Goss
  • Eating and its Disorders by John Fox and Ken Goss
  • Getting Better Bit(e) by Bit(e): A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders by Ulrike Schmidt, Janet Treasure et al
  • Overcoming series (Anorexia Nervosa – Christopher Freeman; Binge Eating – Christopher Fairburn; Bulimia Nervosa – Peter Cooper)
  • Skills-based Learning for Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder: The New Maudsley Method by Janet Treasure, Gráinne Smith and Anna Crane
  • The Big Book of Blob Trees by Pip Wilson
  • Lancashire Libraries - Reading Well for Young People – Shelf Help
  • The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust book recommendations and book club

Eresource icon.png e-Resources

Mental Health First Aid England - Downloadable resources/leaflets, single page PDF posters that school can use and videos for training.

Young Minds - Training courses, free downloadable booklets/leaflets and posters/resources/materials/lesson plans for teachers and school staff – also available to order at a cost.

MindEd - MindEd is a free educational resource on children and young people's mental health for all adults.

Royal College of Psychiatrists - Online advice, guidance and downloadable factsheets for staff, parents and CYP to use (good for parents’ evenings) with leaflets available to order at a cost.

MIND - Information booklets and leaflets.

The Mix - Information for professionals and CYP about a variety of MH issues.

Moodjuice - Self-help guides and tools for professionals.

Playfield Institute - Hands On - Help and practical advice for supporting children and young people's mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Centre for Clinical Interventions - Self-help resources for mental health problems.

Get Self Help - This website provides CBT self-help and therapy resources, including worksheets and information sheets and self-help mp3s.

Psychology Tools - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Worksheets, Handouts, And Self-Help Resources.

HeadMeds - Gives general information about medication. HeadMeds does not give medical advice.

NHS Northumberland, Tyne & Wear - Self-help leaflets.

Hunger for Understanding - Information around Anorexia.

onyourmindglos - Helpful guides about emotional health.

B-eat - The B-eat website features extensive information and links to other organisations, the Helpfinder, message boards, research recommended reading and other resources.

Stemming Teenage Mental Illness - Advice and guidance.

Kooth - Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people, accredited counsellors for mental health needs.

Childline - Information and advice.

Centre for Clinical Interventions - Information sheets on eating disorders and the effects, including information for parents and carers.

Anorexia & Bulimia Care - Ongoing care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends.

Self-harm awareness for all (SAFA) - Advice, support, counselling and training. Based in Barrow-in-Furness.

Breathe Therapies - early intervention, early access and the most appropriate and sufficient treatment for anyone in Preston and the North West.

  • Recovery Record for Clinicians is an evidence-based, HIPAA compliant application for eating disorder treatment professionals. With Recovery Record, patients will remain engaged between visits and you will have patient data and tools for timely, targeted intervention

Training icon (2).png Training 

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Helen Capstick

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Michelle Taylor

Your Primary Mental Health Workers: Liz Loftus, Joanne Collins (Wyre) and Lucy Fenucciu (Fylde).

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Wendy Hart

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Dawn Meakin

Information-guidance-icon.png Other guidance

Your Primary Mental Health Workers: Helen Smith, Bethanne Bullion and Stephanie Rowe

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Aliki Mavraki

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Shamaila Iqbal

Your Primary Mental Health Workers: Annabel Nicholls and Chloe Powers

Help-advice-icon.png Further help or advice

If you cannot find the help or advice you are searching for or you need other support for a child or young person, please contact your local CAMHS team.

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