Some people are surprised to learn that psychological factors play a significant part in the development of eating disorders, alongside biological or social factors.
(Eating disorders are defined as a persistent disturbance of eating patterns that lead to poor physical or psychological health.)
If a young person is experiencing depression, anxiety, low self- esteem, perfectionist tendencies, or they are highly concerned about the opinion of others – this may manifest into an eating disorder of some kind.
Early treatment is best to avoid long term mental and physical health complications, which is the real risk of eating disorders. However, people with eating disorders often do not recognise or admit that they are ill.
The support of family, friends and other services can be key to helping the person to get the treatment they need.
Treatment varies for individuals but can involve working with a GP, psychologist, or dietitian in a combination of physical and psychologically based therapies.
In some case, more specialist eating disorder services may be needed.
Headspace (www.headspace.org.au), Reachout (www.reachout.com) and The Butterfly Foundation (www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au) offer useful online services that can help you or your loved one find out more about eating disorders and where to start to get help
If you or someone you know is struggling with this issue, you can also call Headspace Goulburn on 4824 4944 or drop in to 13-17 Verner Street, Goulburn.