When life becomes impossible to manage
Disrupted eating can start as a strategy to regain control in an unsafe or chaotic world and develop into an everyday struggle which impacts work, health and relationships. Any relationship with food that is difficult may cause stress. This can develop into serious emotional and physical problems which are medically categorised as "disorders". Fundamentally such severe difficulties have overwhelming and often misunderstood suffering at their core.
While "eating disorders" can affect individuals from different backgrounds and age groups, the average age of onset is during adolescence. Numbers have doubled since the 1960's and rose again sharply during the recent pandemic. It’s important to remember that eating distress is never the fault of the person experiencing it, and anyone who is struggling deserves fast, compassionate support to help them.
At present GPs receive less than two hours of training on "eating disorders" throughout their entire medical degree. And one-fifth of medical schools do not provide any training in this area at all. The charity 'Beat' has written an open letter to every medical school in the UK urging them to cover these complex issues fully in their curriculum: