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Eating Disorder Figures Double

The number of teenagers admitted to hospitals suffering from Eating disorders across the UK has nearly doubled in the last 3 years, according to new NHS figures. “In the year 2010/11 there were just under 1,000 admissions of 13-19 year-olds but by 2013/14 it had soared to more than 1,800” (Ward, 2015.) With an already startling increase rate of 89%, this perhaps becomes more shocking when considering that experts believe these figures to be mirrored by an even larger number of unreported cases. According to the dedicated charity ‘Beat’, altogether more than 725,000 women and men across the UK are likely to be affected and of those that are admitted to hospitals; a large percentage is thought to be teenage females. A spokesman for the charity told the Mailonline, “There is undoubtedly a great deal of societal pressure nowadays on individuals, both female and male, to aspire to certain body ideals.” (Parry, 2015)

But where is this pressure coming from and what is causing the dramatic increase? The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) think social media is partly responsible for the sharp rise, with huge pressure on young people coming from many online platforms. A spokeswoman for the RCP discussed the increase with the BBC and expressed concern at the growing pressure of social media on the young and vulnerable. Dr Carolyn Nahman stated that body image dissatisfaction and low self-esteem could be caused by the fact that with “one click of a button very vulnerable young people are able to access 10,000 images of ‘perfect looking’ people which places them under a lot of pressure.”

The significant rise is especially concerning when considering that Anorexia has the highest death rate of all psychiatric disorders and can often be particularly difficult for loved ones to spot. The NHS has released some advice on spotting an eating disorder in others with warning signs including missing meals, repeatedly weighing themselves or looking at themselves in the mirror and making frequent claims that they have already eaten amongst many other signs. However, with around one in 250 women as well as one in 2,000 men experiencing anorexia nervosa at some point and with Bulimia reportedly 5 times more common than that, surely more must be done.

With such rapidly rising figures, it is no surprise that many people in professional settings come into contact with those suffering from Eating disorders on a regular basis. Despite this, many feel ill equipped to help and support due to lack of confidence, knowledge or training. For these professionals; who include Health professionals, social workers and teachers there is a clear need for additional support to increase their confidence and skills amidst this unprecedented rise.

If you would like to gain a better understanding and knowledge base of eating disorders in addition to increasing your confidence in identification, management and treatment of eating disorders please contact me on r.woolner@salford.ac.uk


Parry, L. (2015). Number of teenagers admitted to hospital with eating disorders DOUBLES in just three years, NHS figures reveal. Daily Mail, [online] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3108853/Number-teenagers-admitted-hospital-eating-disorders-DOUBLES-just-four-years-NHS-figures-reveal.html

Ward, V. (2015). Number of teenagers admitted to hospital with eating disorders doubles. Telegraph, [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11647713/Number-of-teenagers-admitted-to-hospital-with-eating-disorders-doubles.html [Accessed 3 Jun. 2015].

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