Call for ALL eating disorder services in Wales!

February 15, 2008

 

Eating Disorders Data Base

Graham Menzies Foundation and the Welsh Assembly Government’s Cross Party Eating Disorder Group are working to create a single comprehensive data base of all services available to people with eating disorders in Wales.

The data base will be used primarily for referral purposes – but will also enable the development a new funding/referral pathway strategies for the treatment of eating disorders in Wales.

If your organisation provides treatment or support for people with eating disorders at any level (telephone help line, internet support, therapy, day care, after care etc.) then we would like to add you to the central data base. Please complete the on-line form at our mail web site: grahammenzies.com

You will find it under the “resources” link.

What will happen to this information?

The data base will be shared with GPs and other health professionals throughout Wales. You will be able to access the data base at: http://www.grahammenziesfoundation.com by clicking the “treatment” link.

 If you have questions, suggestions or comments we would be very pleased to hear from you. Please contact:

Bethan Jenkins AM

Chairperson for the Cross Party Eating Disorder Group:

www.bethanjenkins.blogspot.com

Tel: 01639 643549


Rowenna Menzies

CEO Graham Menzies Foundation:

www.grahammenziesfoundation.com

Tel: 01970 881052

Woman over 25 with eating disorders

February 14, 2008

Information about eating disorders in women over 25

Eating disorders are not only for young teenaged girls. The stereotype has been proven wrong year after year as children, adults, seniors and men are diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating syndrome.

In general, men develop eating disorders later than woman, and the onset of bulimia is later than anorexia. We are also facing the relatively new problem of long-term anorexia and bulimia. Individuals who were diagnosed in their teens but received no successful treatment, and who are now in their thirties or fourties.

The following information is taken from:

http://eatingdisorders.suite101.com/article.cfm/eating_disorders_in_adult_women

The article is called “What happens after Recovery?” by Lori Henry.

“One of the recent phenomenon is the discovery that adult women are still struggling with these issues. Those who had suffered in their teen years were still effected, but could not be diagnosed with an eating disorder because they fell under the radar for specific symptoms.

There is also a huge jump in women who develop eating disorders later in life, usually due to the many changes and stressors that present themselves as their children grow up, they go through deaths, possible divorces, pregnancy, and age changes their perspectives and bodies.

Not many studies have been done, though, on adult women who suffer from full blown eating disorders and especially those who are suffering but are not quite diagnosable.

In Trisha Gura’s new book, Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women, she diligently explores this hidden epidemic that is ruining millions of people’s lives. Chock full of scientific research, personal stories and the author’s own experience, the read is both a fascinating and shattering one.

The book doesn’t stop there, though. Trisha also provides answers to difficult questions about eating disorders in adult women’s lives, as well as inspiration for those dealing with these issues.

What happens when girls with eating disorders grow up into adults? We hear from them in direct stories about their struggles and how aging has effected their latent eating disorders.

Women she interviews range in age and experience, but all share the growing battle with disordered eating. One woman is 92 years old and developed anorexia in her senior years because “there was just too much she wanted to do in her later years” (Lying in Weight, Harper Collins, 2007).

Trisha Gura is not only someone who empathises with the subject matter, she is a scientist herself and has spent 15 years as a medical journalist. She holds a doctorate in molecular biology and has written extensively in such publications as Science, Nature, Scientific American, the Chigaco Tribune, the Boston Globe, Child, the Yoga Journal and Health, to name a few.

Above all, she offers hope to those suffering or who know someone who is suffering. Mixed in with her scientific research are the women’s stories themselves who have shared their own experience in order to shed light on their age group.

Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women is available from Amazin and is a great read for laypeople and professionals alike”.

addiction?

February 13, 2008

 

 

 

 

Are eating disorders an

 

 

 

 

 

 

addiction?

 

 

 

Can compulsive eating be compared to an addiction like compulsive gambling?

 

Is the chemical hit produced by periods of starvation similar to that of heroin?

 

Are eating disorders an addiction?

 

 

…This is surely one of the most controversial and emotionally laden subjects in the mental health field. In this article I will explore ways in which an eating disorder is (and isn’t) like an addiction…

 

 

 

 

I personally do not subscribe to the idea that anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are addictions. This is because eating does not create the biological dependencies which are implicit in addiction to drugs such as nicotine or crack cocaine.

For example, chemical changes occur within the body of an alcoholic so that they physically need alcohol to function in a “normal” way.

 

 

When I suffered from anorexia I was emotionally and mentally dependent on starving. There were a million reasons why I felt “unable” to eat, and physically I was unable to digest very much food because my stomach had shrunk. But I did not physically need to starve so that I could function. My need not to eat was primarily mental rather than physical.

 

 

 

 

“Addictive personality”…?

 

Up to date research suggests that only 5% of drug or alcohol users become chemically addicted and that particular personality “types” are most likely to become dependent, regardless of the chemicals used.

 

 

Certain childhood behaviours may predict adult addictive tendencies… there are “early warning” signs. You only have to sit in an AA or NA meeting to hear people in recovery describe how they knew they were an “addict” long before they ever picked up their first drink or experimented with their first drug.

 

 

Common features include childhood feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and isolation. Children who are very shy or very loud. Unhappy children who use ritualistic behaviours to soothe their internal pain. Repetitive tapping or stepping, talking to one’s self, making up secret “rules” to manage anger or anxiety.

 

 

When I was a child I said individual prayers on behalf of everybody, everybody I knew, every night. I even said a prayer from the people I didn’t know. I said one from the people I would meet one day and another from those I would never meet. I said extra prayers in case I forgot anybody… it took hours. I wasn’t a religious child, but I would wake up guilty and terrified if I forgot anybody.

 

I never stepped on cracks, I only sat on the floor at home, I touched things the same number of times with my right hand and then my left. I walked the long way to school to avoid passing the Golden Labrador pup. All the children loved to pet him ~ but I couldn’t bare to leave him. I couldn’t go until I saw another kid in the distance and knew he wouldn’t be alone.

 

I failed miserably to communicate with children my own age and preferred to play by myself. I wasn’t bullied, but I had no friends. I could go on and on… mostly small, quiet things which nobody ever noticed; but my childhood was a series of carefully balanced rituals planned to avoid or justify feelings of guilt. Such disassociative actions could be perceived as the early emergence of addictive behaviour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addictions and Eating Disorders

 

 

 

Shared Characteristics

 

 

Eating disorders certainly share many characteristics, symptoms and behaviour trends with addictions. It is common to hear people describe themselves as being “addicted” to chocolate or salty foods. They also feel deprived when they can not eat these foods and crave them.

 

 

People with eating disorders (for example anorexia) may achieve both an emotional and physiological “high” when starving. A bulimic might experience stress release of tension relief when purging. Compulsive eating can provide both a rush of energy with sugar, than drowsiness when satiated. At the beginning, there is always a “reward”.

 

 

 

Some shared

 

 

 

characteristics:

 

 

Secrecy

 

 

Deception and lies (e.g. pretending to have eaten)

 

 

Ritual (Rules and specific patterns of eating, a particular routine for vomiting, etc)

 

 

Pre-occupation (constantly thinking about food)

 

Use of a behaviour or drug to “cope”

 

 

Prioritising compulsive behaviour or addiction above all else

 

 

(e.g. above relationships, finance, physical and emotional health) etc

 

 

Illegal behaviour to support behabiour (such as shoplifting)

 

 

Social withdrawal and depression

 

 

Gradual reduction in the “positive” effects of their disorder or addiction and an increase in drug or behaviour use to compensate.

 

 

Ultimately, eating disorders can become the centre of a person’s life in the same way as any chemical addiction and sufferers are likely to feel emotionally unable to cease damaging behaviours.

 

 

The relationship between eating

 

 

 

 

 

 

disorders and chemical addiction

 

 

 

 

 

Statistically, there is no hard evidence to suggest that people with eating disorders are more likely to have alcoholics or chemical addicts as close family members. I personally find this surprising to the point of disbelief.

 

 

The majority of sufferers I know have some family experience of addiction.

There is evidence to suggest that somebody with a close family member who has an eating disorder is four or five times more likely to develop one themselves. But this could be learned behaviour. We already know that amongst young girls who are not genetically related, a single sufferer can significantly increase the risk of eating disorders in her peers.

 

 

Finally, there is much written about the prevalence of cross addiction or co-morbidity. It is indisputable that a huge amount of people with eating disorders also suffer from a chemical addication or self-injury (self-harm). There is so much to say on this subject… I guess that’s another blog.

 

 

Addiction or not – an addiction model can be a helpful form of treatment. OA (which adopts the AA 12-step recovery model) provides free self-help groups world wide. And whilst the abstinence model may be negated (a person with an eating disorder must learn to manage eating healthily if they wish to recover) the emphasis on peer identification, openness, acceptance and personal responsibility can be empowering and supportive.

 

 

Interested in this subject? You may find the short film below helpful………

 

 

 

The Reality of Bulimia…..

February 10, 2008

 

Bulimia

The true horror of eating disorders is minimised. Whilst the media and social forums glamorise anorexia as being “heroin chic” ~ bulimia nervosa is almost completely ignored as socially taboo.

Adding to the problem is the fact that the Welsh medical community still diagnose the severity of an eating disorder in terms of bmi (low body weight). This entirely inadequate diagnostic tool all but disqualifies severe bulimics from accessing a level of help appropriate to their need.

Bulimia does not always cause low body weight. In fact, severe bulimics who consume huge quantities of high calorie, sugary food before purging are more likely to be slightly over-weight. This is because their body digests a percentage of the food they consume almost instantly.

Bulimia kills

Bulimia kills. It causes a range of chemical imbalances in the body which trigger cardiac arrest (stopping the heart) or brain damage.

Bulimia can also cause gastric rupture (rupture of the stomach), leading to death. Lung collapse, internal bleeding, stroke, kidney failure, liver failure; pancreatitis and perforated ulcers. Depression and suicide are a high cause of fatality in bulimics. The affects of binging and purging on an unborn child are brutal and irreversible.

This short film documents some of the fatalities resulting from bulimia nervosa. (There is another, far more brutal film at the end of this blog entry).

minimised

The physical affects of

 

Bulimia Nervosa

Malnutrition
Dehydration
Electrolyte imbalance (Can lead to cardiac arrest, which can also result in brain damage by stroke.)
Hyponatremia
Damaging of the voice
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Teeth erosion and cavities, gum disease
Sialadenosis (salivary gland swelling)
Potential for gastric rupture during periods of binging
Esophageal reflux
Irritation, inflammation, and possible rupture of the esophagus
Laxative dependence
Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis
Emetic toxicity due to ipecac abuse
Swelling of the face and cheeks, especially apparent in the lower eyelids due to the high pressure of blood in the face during vomiting.
Callused or bruised fingers
Dry or brittle skin, hair, and nails, or hair loss
Lanugo
Edema
Muscle atrophy
Decreased/increased bowel activity
Digestive problems that may be triggered, including Celiac, Crohn’s Disease
Low blood pressure, hypotension
Orthostatic hypotension
High blood pressure, hypertension
Iron deficiency
Anemia
Hormonal imbalances
Hyperactivity
Depression
Insomnia
Amenorrhea
Infertility
High risk pregnancy, miscarriage, still-born babies
Diabetes
Elevated blood sugar or hyperglycemia
Ketoacidosis
Osteoporosis
Arthritis
Weakness and fatigue
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Cancer of the throat or voice box
Liver failure
Kidney infection and failure
Heart failure, heart arrhythmia, angina
Seizure
Paralysis
Potential death caused by heart attack or heart failure; lung collapse; internal bleeding, stroke, kidney failure, liver failure; pancreatitis, gastric rupture, perforated ulcer, depression and suicide.

 

 

 

Bulimia in the UK: Fast facts

 

Approximately 1-2 percent of women in the UK suffer from bulimia.


Every year there are as many as 18 new cases of bulimia nervosa per 100,000 population per year.

Between 1 and 3 percent of young women are thought to be bulimic at any given moment in time.

According to some studies, as many as 8 percent of women suffer from bulimia at some stage in their life, and it affects about 5 percent of female college students.

People who have close relatives with bulimia are four times more likely to develop the disease than people who do not.

Studies indicate that about 5 out of 10 people with bulimia are healthy 10 years after diagnosis; while 2 out of 10 still have bulimia and 3 out of 10 are partially recovered.

Approximately 5 percent of bulimia sufferers go on to develop anorexia nervosa.

 

The final film/audio here really brings home the horror of death by of bulimia nervosa.
Please be aware that this film contains some graphic imagery and is explicit re. details of death. Although I am familiar with reading about stomach rupture and organ failure, I personally find the narrative deeply upsetting.
I spent a long time considering the merits of including such a film, and have decided to do so; because the majority of people who access this blog are sufferers and for them it may be of benefit. That said, I do not reccomend that everyone watch it.

 

 

Short film – anorexia nervosa

February 10, 2008

Meeting With Elin Jones, Minister of Rural Affairs

February 8, 2008

 

This afternoon I met with Elin Jones at her Aberystwyth office.
She was soooo enthusiastic, supportive and helpful! We talked about plans for a residential unit and discussed possible caused for the development of anorexia and bulimia.

Elin is going to look into property options for us…and see if WAG can help, Yay!

Thanks Elin Jones!

graham menzies foundation~new web spaces…

February 5, 2008

business-card-imagejpg.jpg

Web Spaces…

 

wenna-profile-2.jpg

Hi everyone,

What do you think of the blog so far?

I’m trying to include a good mixture of articles, thoughts, information, statistics and stories…

If you have any questions or suggestions for improvement then pleeeaaaazzze leave a comment or e-mail me, I’d be thrilled to hear from you!

This is where else you can find me on-line (oh yes, there’s more)…

Bebo (a youth chat community)

The Bebo site is light-hearted and very up-beat, with funny comments and lots of other silly nonsense! The main purpose is to provide on-line links so that younger people can access other support sites. It has more “members” than the other communities.

Address: http://www.bebo.com/rowennamagentaburge

 

 

 

My Space (a slightly more adult version of Bebo)

…Only slightly!

This site is more personal and features photographs of Graham and me. Blog entries focus on issues of grief and bereavement.

Address: http://www.myspace.com/rowennamagentamenzies

 

Face Book (The most grown-up one)!

I don’t blog there, but I check-in regularly and update the page weekly. Seriously, you would not believe the number of pro-ana sites on face book! I don’t want to advertise them… suffice to say I thought we should have a profile there too!

Address: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=735251869

Finally, if you have personal experience or ideas and would like to write something for the blog, do let me know!

Wishing you all a good week ~

Speak soon!

Wenna XXX

 

suicide, eating disorders and self-injury links

February 5, 2008

Suicidal Young Girls Need More Help

Monday, February 26th, 2007business-card-imagejpg.jpg

BBC on-line

Young girls are crying out for help – last year one in six calls to a 24 hour mental health helpline came from young girls considering suicide. Depression, eating disorders sexual abuse and bullying seemed to be some of the main problems affecting young girls – according to the article on the BBC website, rates of depression and anxiety have increased among young people in the UK by 70% in the last 25 years. That’s a huge percentage, and an extremely worrying one.

Joelle Leader, assistant director of ChildLine said “At the moment, there are simply not enough therapeutic services for children with these problems, and we are urging the government to give this issue urgent attention.”

More doctors

Eating problems also featured high on the list of mental health concerns, with 1,854 girls and 158 boys ringing for help and advice.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of SANE, said the charity had recorded an increase in the number the number of calls to its helpline from young people who self-harmed – sometimes in a brutal fashion.

“Those young people calling about self-harm report an almost doubled rate of suicidal thoughts than non self-harmers, and a significantly higher incidence of past suicide attempts.

“What is alarming is the numbers of those taken to A&E departments who are sent home without any follow-up help.

“We need doctors and teachers to be more alert to the potential risks, and many more therapists available, to prevent the vicious cycle of relief by painful self-harm.”

 

 

e.d.carer’s forum, Somerset

February 4, 2008

Carers’ Forum

SWEDA will be holding a Carers’ Forum on Wednesday  9th April 2008 between 7:00pm and 8:30pm at SWEDA.

The Carers’ Forum is open to anyone who is supporting someone with an eating disorder. The aim of the group is to offer support and information around eating disorders

For further information, call 01458 448611 or email community@swedauk.org