NW eating disorder expert urges people to contact GP

A HEALTH worker specialising in combating eating disorders in Londonderry and across the Western Trust is urging people who think they compulsively overeat, binge eat or suffer from anorexia, bulimia or obesity to contact their GP for help.

Angela O’Neill, Team Lead for Adult Eating Disorder Service at the Western Trust said: “An eating disorder can be a difficult condition to treat.”

But she said people can and do recover from eating disorders although recovery is a gradual process which can be achieved through professional help and support from family and friends.

Speaking in order to highlight Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 11-17, 2013), Ms O’Neill said: “Those concerned should approach their GP in the first instance. GPs are the first point of contact for someone with an eating disorder.

“Once the GP has made their assessment, the individual can be referred to the Western Trust’s Eating Disorder Service via the Mental Health Primary Care Liaison Service, where a tailor-made treatment will be developed.

“Support for young people under 18 years of age is provided through dedicated Eating Disorder Specialists within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).”

She added: “To anyone reading this who is concerned for themselves or a loved one I would say, find the courage to go to your GP - they are very understanding and sympathetic and will signpost you to where you need to go to get help and support.”

Trevor Millar, Western Trust Director of Mental Health and Disability Services said: “Eating disorders, such as compulsive overeating, binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, obesity, and failed dieting affect people in every walk of life.

“There are millions of men and women suffering from chaotic eating disorders, perhaps harbouring weight related problems and over concerned about their image.

“The vital service that is provided by the Western Trust and in partnership with CAWT has been a tremendous help and support to hundreds of people with eating disorders across the Trust area.”