herald

Sunday 19 January 2020

People with eating disorders 'need support over Christmas'

Christmas can be difficult
Christmas can be difficult

Christmas can trigger problems for people who are suffering from eating disorders, health professionals have warned.

The emphasis on food, drink and socialising can put extra pressure on people with anorexia and bulimia, according to Britain's NHS and eating disorder charity Beat.

Beat's director of services Caroline Price said Christmas can be "extremely difficult" for sufferers.

"The pressure to eat large amounts can be triggering for people with binge-eating disorder and bulimia, and cause anxiety for people with anorexia," she added.

"People with eating disorders often try to hide their illness and at Christmas, when eating is a social occasion - often with people who they do not see frequently - they may feel ashamed and want to isolate themselves."

Activities

New advice released by Beat offers practical steps, including serving food at buffets instead of sit-down meals, taking part in activities such as games or films after dinner, and making guests aware to avoid questions about weight or appetite.

Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan said: "Living with an eating disorder is a constant struggle but Christmas can be particularly challenging, with an increased focus on food, drink and big get-togethers.

"Helping families manage these conditions at home can be crucial and hopefully these tips will make a difference."

Katie, who is in recovery from an eating disorder, used to find Christmas "incredibly hard".

"Eating disorders don't break for Christmas, and it's important that people appreciate those close to them may need to take it more slowly and be supported," she added.

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