Letter in the Western Mail:
Eating disorder need
SIR – I welcome the call by Bethan Jenkins to improve the services dedicated to treating eating disorders in Wales (Health Wales, January 21).
Despite over 50,000 people in Wales suffering from such disorders, the limited in-patient service offered in Wales is over-run and community services are limited and stretched to breaking point.
Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. It impacts on the patients’ physical and mental status, and also transforms their lives and that of their family and loved ones.
Unless patients are treated quickly then their obsession with food, exercise and their illogical desire to be thin turns into a live threatening, life-dominating condition.
As a medical student who has suffered from anorexia, I have seen the effects of this condition from both sides. I am only too aware of the dangers of the condition, as well as the illogical thoughts that possesses a sufferers’ mind.
At a time when preventing obesity seems high on the agenda in the UK, let us not forget those at the other end of the spectrum who are underweight, undernourished and suffering in silence as anorexia and bulimia torment and haunt their everyday lives. No family should have to travel over the border to receive treatment for what is an already immensely burdensome condition. I only hope WAG listen to Ms Jenkins’s call and also take note of the silent cries of many eating disorder sufferers across Wales. I only hope that as a practising doctor in six months time I will be able to offer help to my patients close to their homes to overcome their dying desire to diet.
DAVID GWYNFOR SAMUEL
Fifth year medical student, Cardiff University. Pant, Merthyr Tydfil
If you are interested, please join the launch of the eating disorders cross party group campaign on the 27th of February at the National Assembly for Wales.