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Eating disorders highlighted by MSP

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By Fiona Reid
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Eating disorders highlighted by MSP

EATING disorders have been a talking point in the Scottish Parliament with one South Scotland MSP taking part in the debate.

Emma Harper led a discussion to mark Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2022, which this year focused on the early warning signs of eating disorders.

She highlighted that eating disorders can affect anyone at any stage of life, but that recent data suggests that around 25 per cent of those living with an eating disorder are male.

In addition, at least, 1.25 million people in the UK are living with an eating disorder and that, over the course of the pandemic there was an 86 per cent increase in eating disorders referrals across Scotland, showing that the issue has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Ms Harper said: “Eating disorders are mental health conditions where a person uses the control of food to cope with their emotions. Eating disorders – anorexia, binge eating, bulimia and even diablimia – can impact on anyone at any stage of life and can impact on everyone differently.

“Eating disorders can lead to people gaining, losing or having no obvious changes to their weight. However, there a key symptoms of eating disorders such as a person going to the bathroom for extended period immediately after meal times, rapid weight gain or weight loss, tiredness and fatigue and having negative perceptions of their own body. It is important to ensure anyone experiencing these symptoms is supported.”

She hopes the Scottish Government’s commitment of £120 million for a mental health recovery and renewal fund, after covid, will help as it will include eating disorders.

And she called for it to be rolled out quickly.

n Anyone worried about your own or someone else’s health can contact Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, 365 days a year on their Scottish helpline at 0808 801 0432 or via [email protected]

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