I was invited to participate in a conference on eating disorders in children and young people in Edinburgh last week. The event was small but very informative with an incredible lineup of speakers, which included clinicians, third-sector organisations, such as Beat and MBEEDS, and people who have lived through an eating disorder. I talked about the connection between social media and body image in young women. Some points stuck out to me:
- Anorexia nervosa has been around since the 15th century (Dr Jane Morris, consultant psychiatrist)
- Average age of diagnosis with an eating disorder is 15. It takes 6-7 years to recover (Dr Jane Morris)
- “Patients admitted to Scottish hospitals with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa have an average life expectancy of 39 years.” (Dr Jane Morris)
- Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality of any mental health problem (Charlotte Oakley, chair of Scottish CAMHS Eating Disorder Steering Group)
- You’re 15 times more likely to develop an eating disorder if you diet as a teenager. (Charlotte Oakley)
- People at a healthy weight could have an anorexic mindset. Weight shouldn’t be a sign of things. It’s not about weight. (Chelsea Rocks, 18, Beat Ambassador)
Above: Beat Young Ambassadors talking about using health services.