Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: Healthcare from the heart of your community

Anorexia

Eating disorders are serious health issues that can affect both mental and physical health. Anorexia (referred to as Anorexia Nervosa in medical terms) is one of the most common eating disorders. Suffering from an eating disorder can be very scary for the person suffering, and those close to them. In extreme cases, anorexia can be life threatening – in fact, it has the highest mortality rate of all psychological conditions.

Berkshire Healthcare takes the care and treatment of anorexia very seriously and we make sure that every patient is dealt with as an individual. We have treated more than 900 patients with eating disorders in the past three years.

What is anorexia and what are the symptoms?

A person with anorexia weighs very little, yet continues to believe that they are overweight. This causes them to eat a lot less food than their body needs.

In many cases, concerned friends and relatives of anorexia sufferers contact us for advice. They often ask about common symptoms, as they are worried about a loved one.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • losing weight
  • missing meals
  • complaining of being fat, even though they are normal or underweight
  • repeatedly weighing themselves and looking in the mirror
  • making repeated claims they have already eaten, or will shortly be going out to eat somewhere else
  • cooking big or complicated meals for others, but eating little or none of the food themselves
  • only eating certain low-calorie foods in your presence, such as lettuce or celery
  • feeling uncomfortable or refusing to eat in public places, such as a restaurant

You can read about other symptoms of anorexia here

How we help you

We offer a range of services to help you to deal with anorexia – whether you are the one suffering from it, or know someone who is. Depending on your age and specific needs, we offer a variety of ways to help you manage your condition.

If you are over 18 you will be supported by the Berkshire Eating Disorders Service.

If you are under 18, we have a dedicated service that specialises in supporting the younger members of our community – Berkshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (known as CAMHS).

Regardless of which service supports you, you will receive advice and dedicated care relevant to your circumstances. We often recommend attending a clinic in your local area. We cover the whole of Berkshire, with clinics in Slough, Wokingham, Newbury, Reading and Royal Holloway University.

We use workshops to help patients talk about and explore what is behind the disorder they live with and to think about changes which could help them control their condition.

Self-esteem plays a big part in anorexia. The workshops offer access to a Self Esteem Group which helps patients understand how their low self-esteem developed and why it continues. The group provides opportunities to build self-confidence and assertiveness – encouraging long term development.

SHaRON (Support Hope and recovery online Network)is another resource that you can use to help you deal with anorexia. It is a safe, secure and dedicated online social networking hub that can provide help and support to anyone receiving treatment from the Berkshire Eating Disorder Service.

Watch what the BBC are saying about SHaRON: Berkshire NHS teams use social media to tackle anorexia.

We are delighted that SHaRON has become a finalist in the EHI 2013 awards for best use of social media in healthcare. The awards reward excellence in healthcare IT.

Need more information?

What is Anorexia Nervosa?
A more detailed description of the condition and some useful contact information

Help for relatives and carers
Answers to questions frequently asked by relatives and carers

The importance of regular eating
What is regular eating is and how important is it

Normal healthy eating
Some advice about what a healthy plate looks like and which foods to choose

First steps towards recovery
Some ideas and examples which will inspire you to begin the process of recovering from your eating disorder