Research has found that a lot of people don't know what the symptoms of an eating disorder are.
A new study has found that the majority of people in the UK have a surface-level understanding when it comes to recognising eating disorders.
Eating disorder charity Beat commissioned a survey that found that more than one in three adults (34 per cent) could not name any signs or symptoms of an eating disorder. Those that gave a correct answer were also twice as likely to list weight loss or 'being thin' as the most telling symptom.
In actuality, eating disorders are a mental illness that warp the mind far before physical changes appear, and weight loss is just one potential symptom once it's taken hold. Sufferers are actually just as likely to stay the same or gain weight.
Despite this, 79 per cent of people surveyed were unable to list a single psychological symptom.
Here are some of the most common signs to get clued up on and look out for:
• Low confidence and self-esteem
• Becoming obsessive about food
• Excessive focus on body weight
• Distorted perception of body size
• Not eating in front of others
• Difficulty concentrating
• Excessive exercise
• Going to the toilet after meals
• Irritability or mood swings
The inability to recognise eating disorders leaves people at risk. Beat found that the lack of awareness around symptoms was the main factor causing the three-and-a-half year delay on average between becoming ill and getting treatment.
Beat Chief Executive Andrew Radford said: "These results are worrying because we know lack of awareness can stop sufferers getting the treatment they desperately need as soon as possible.
"Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and when people are treated quickly after falling ill, they are much more likely to have a fast and sustained recovery.
"Today, we are asking that the Government and NHS invest in measures to increase awareness of the early signs and symptoms, heightened awareness will not only improve outcomes for those suffering but also prove cost effective for the services treating patients."
Via our sister site The Debrief.
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