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Eating disorders – early intervention is key to recovery

Posted in News on 1st March, 2017

Eating disorders affect around 800,000 people in the UK and can affect people of any age. The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence estimates around 11% of those affected by an eating disorder are male.

The main eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder (BED) and it is estimated that, of those with eating disorders, 10% are anorexic, 40% are bulimic and the rest fall into the EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified) category which includes BED.

During Eating Disorders Awareness Week (27 February – 5 March) we want to encourage anyone who is concerned about a friend or relative to ask them to talk to their doctor before their illness reaches a serious stage. That first step is often a difficult one, but the earlier someone can enter treatment for an eating disorder, the greater their chance of recovery.  They may feel a lot of shame and fear about their eating behaviours and may secretly want help but not know how to ask for it.

Most people in Devon with an eating disorder will receive their care and treatment from their local community mental health team with professional consultation and advice from the Community Eating Disorder Consultation and Advice Service. Recovery can take a long time and is likely to require continuous long-term support. 

If someone has a severe eating disorder they may require admission to a specialist inpatient centre, like The Haldon Eating Disorder Service, based in Exeter, which is run by Devon Partnership NHS Trust.

The Haldon has an excellent reputation and is the only specialist inpatient centre for eating disorders in Devon and Cornwall.  It can offer up to 20 places at any one time for people with severe eating disorders and also provides community accommodation at Redhills in Exeter, for people moving towards recovery who are attending the non-residential care and treatment programme.

Someone recently treated at The Haldon explains why it’s so important to ask for help:

“Making the first step is difficult but once you have made it, it gets that little bit easier.  Every day is a huge battle, not just between family and friends but between you and your head.  But in my opinion, in recovery you get a recovery voice – every time you fight against your eating disorder voice, your recovery voice gets stronger, you as a person get stronger and your self-worth goes up – meaning your self-hatred goes down.

“Yes, you start to get your emotions and feelings back which can be hard to deal with but it is so worth it as you start to also get good feelings back such as happiness, excitement, love and affection.” For more information about recognising the signs of eating disorders please visit the beat website at and for services provided by Devon Partnership NHS Trust visit