Home » Children and Young People » Mental Health » Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can affect anyone. An eating disorder is a serious mental health problem that can have a major impact on your physical health as well as affecting your thoughts and emotions, and can impact on your social life as well as school or college.

Whilst there are different types of eating disorders – all of which are serious – they are treatable and a full recovery is possible, so the earlier treatment starts the better.

Some signs that there might be a problem and it’s time to get help:

  • Constant thinking or worrying about food, calories, weight gain or your shape. You might notice that it is hard to concentrate on other things
  • Reducing your food in order to lose weight and setting yourself strict rules about what you can or cannot eat
  • Trying to do other things to lose weight, such as lots of exercise, vomiting taking laxatives or slimming pills
  • You might become tired and more emotional (tearful, irritable)
  • If you’re a girl, your periods might stop
  • Other people might start noticing and commenting that they are worried about you

Top tips

  • It is common for people with eating difficulties to not see that there is a real problem. You may not understand why others are concerned or you might disagree that there is a problem altogether. This may make you feel angry and frustrated.
  • Try to be honest about how you are feeling with those around you.  The quicker you can get help for your difficulties, the better the outcome.
  • Take things one day at a time, each meal at a time. If you have a difficult meal or snack, start the next one afresh.
  • Find things that will motivate you to maintain a healthy eating pattern when things are hard. Things like going out with friends, doing sports and activities and achieving goals that you have set yourself.
  • There are a number of downloadable workbooks and self-help materials you might might useful:
  • Body Image Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help Girls Develop a Healthy Body Image in an Image-Obsessed World by Julia Taylor
  • Getting Over Overeating for Teens: A Workbook to Transform Your Relationship with Food Using CBT, Mindfulness, and Intuitive Eating by Andrea Watcher
  • What’s Eating You? A Workbook for Teens With Anorexia, Bulimia & Other Eating Disorders: A Workbook for Teens with Anorexia, Bulimia, and Other Eating Disorders by Tammy Nelson

Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Build Confidence and Achieve Your Goals by Lisa Scab

Websites

Beat – The UK’s Eating Disorder Charity

Who to Contact

You can find further information online at the CAMHS website.

CAMHS

Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is an NHS specialist service, provided by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for young people aged 5-18 years and their families who are experiencing difficulties with their mental and emotional health. Many young people experience difficulties with their mental health such as anxiety, low mood, trauma, eating difficulties, plus many others which can impact on all aspects of life such as education, home life, hobbies and interests, socialising and having fun.

It is important to know that everyone has mental health and that we can all experience tough times and this can cause our mental health to suffer. CAMHS work with young people, their families and other important organisations (such as schools) to achieve the following:

• Assess and diagnose mental health and neurodevelopmental difficulties
• Identify realistic goals or changes that you would like to make
• Identify and build on your strengths
• Improve self-esteem and confidence to cope with difficulties
• Learn emotional coping techniques to help manage difficult or upsetting thoughts, feelings, urges or experiences
• Empower you to identify, express and communicate your needs, take responsibility for your health and wellbeing and feel confident in knowing where and how to get additional support if necessary

CAMHS have put together a list of some of the things that you might be experiencing, or some of the difficulties that you might be having, and some top tips on how to manage them. This can be found on their website at: www.hampshirecamhs.nhs.uk