An eating disorder is a mental health condition. People with eating disorders use disordered eating to cope with difficult situations or feelings. Disordered eating can include limiting the amount of food eaten, eating a large amount of food at once and then getting rid of the food through unhealthy ways (such as making themselves sick, misusing laxatives or taking excessive exercise) or a combination of both.
Eating disorders can affect anyone at any age, any sex, background or ethnicity. Eating disorders are not all about the food they are eating or not eating, but about coping with difficult feelings. An eating disorder is never the fault of the person and they should always be treated with compassion.
It is essential to be treated as soon as possible if someone has an eating disorder or a potential eating disorder. You don’t have to be underweight; you can be a healthy weight or overweight and still have an eating disorder.
Where to seek help
If you think you may have an eating disorder, it is important to seek help and support from your GP as soon as possible. They can refer you to your local specialist service.
There is also a national specialist eating disorders charity, call Beat, which offers confidential online and telephone support for anyone who needs help with an eating disorder.
Beat’s online support and telephone line is available 365 days a year. You can talk in confidence to one of their advisers by calling their adult helpline on 0808 801 0433 or youth helpline on 0808 801 0711. You can also access information on their website. Their website which contains helpful information about eating disorders. If you are concerned that a loved one is showing signs of an eating disorder you can find support for yourself via Beat. Beat also provide training for health care professionals, school/university staff, parents and carers.
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s Eating Disorder Service
If you think you have an eating disorder, seek help from your GP. They can refer you to specialist help. A local Eating Disorders Service is available for people who live in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board which your GP can refer you to.
Beat has the most up to date useful information and advice.
Read one of our self-help leaflets, these can be found below.
Visit your local library and ask for the Reading Well Books. There are a wide range of books on eating disorders which you can lend for free. They include a book on eating disorders called ‘Getting Better Bite by Bite’ and ‘Overcoming BingeEating’ by Christopher Fairburn. Find details of all the Reading Well books in the list below.
Last updated: 11.09.2023
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