June 14, 2024

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Hospital admissions for eating disorders up 122% in a decade

HOSPITALS are dealing with record numbers of cases of eating disorders, new figures reveal.

Data shows there were almost 30,000 admissions to NHS wards for conditions linked to anorexia and bulimia last year.

That’s up 122 per-cent on a decade ago when hospitals were dealing with 13,000 admissions a year.

The statistics compiled by NHS Digital, come at the start of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and indicate more and more very young children are developing eating disorders.

Admissions among those aged 0-9 are up 500 percent from 81 in 2015 to 468 last year – a rise of 500 percent Among 10 to 12 year olds they increased from 220 in 2015 to 587 last year.

Admissions for those aged 13 to 15, are up from 1512 in 2015 to 3086 last year – a rise of more than 100 per cent.

Yesterday a leading expert described the rise as “deeply concerning”.

Counsellor and author Lynn Crilly, who has supported her daughter Samantha in her battle with an eating disorder, said: “These figures show a deeply concerning rise in NHS hospital admissions – especially given it appears more and more young people are being affected. Hospital admissions and care is usually offered when the sufferers have become a danger to themselves, and they need full medical intervention, which makes me think that we need to focus much more on awareness and education.

“As we all know the NHS is overstretched and underfunded and the mental health system is no different and is failing our younger people greatly.

Lynn, the author of Hope With Eating Disorders, (2nd Edition) added: “I have been around eating disorders personally and now professionally for the last 20 years and while other health treatments have advanced the approach to mental ill health particularly eating disorders has not evolved with the demand and times.

“There is a lot of work that can and needs to be done, to bring about the much-needed change that is needed to enable our young people and their families to access the care and support needed to help them fight the eating disorder and

Marjorie Wallace CBE, Chief Executive of SANE, on eating disorders, said: “We are deeply concerned about the impact of people suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health problems including eating disorders. We need to support parents, many of whom are waiting for months for assessment and treatment while watching in despair while the mental and physical health of the person they care for deteriorates.

“Left untreated, eating disorders can last beyond childhood and adolescence and become  a serious mental illness. This is why it is vital to intervene before it may be too late.”