News : Shock as 10,000 Irish Call Eating Disorder Helpline
Sept 3, 2014 -- New research has shattered the myth that eating disorders mainly affect teenagers. Statistics today revealed those aged between 25 and 35 now account for the majority of sufferers.
Bodywhys, the eating disorder association of Ireland, received 10,000 calls to its helpline last year. And people aged between 25 and 35 made up 31% of callers – a sharp hike from 2012.
Previously, eating disorders mainly affected 19 to 24-year-olds but this plummeted to just a fifth of callers last year. Women still make up the majority of sufferers at 91.5% and anorexia was the most common condition, followed by bulimia.
Harriet Parsons of Bodywhys said: "These are adults who may have developed anorexia as a teenager but they might feel like they are only able to talk now. They might have tried to cope with things alone and have decided they need to do something about it as they got older."
And the statistics backed her up as 26% of those who turned to Bodywhys last year admitted they had been struggling with the disorder for more than a decade.
Ms Parsons said: "Overall there has been a reduction in the stigmas associated with mental health. People might feel more comfortable with opening up, talking and getting help."
Conditions such as anorexia and bulimia are notoriously complicated to treat and Ms Parsons said there are many reasons why it develops. She added: "Often it is in response to a stressful situation that brings out different emotions and they may turn in on themselves.
"The person may develop a compulsion over their diet, weight and exercise regime in a bid to have control over their body.
"It is possible to recover fully. If someone is worried about their relationship with food they can get in touch with us and we will try and help, we have a gentle and easy support system in place."
For more information, call Bodywhys helpline on 1890 200 444
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, September 5, 2014