An increase in eating disorder hospital admissions shows there aren't enough community services to help people early enough to avoid hospital, a charity has said.
Admissions to hospital for eating disorders have doubled in England in just six years. NHS England admitted 7,260 people for bulimia and anorexia between April 2010 and 2011, but between April 2016 and 2017 the figure was 13,885.
Tom Quinn, the director of external affairs at eating disorder charity Beat, told Jamie East and Melinda Messenger: "I think the key fact here is that they’re going to a hospital and so I think actually what we’re seeing is this is systematic of people not being helped early enough."
He believes it suggests "there aren’t good enough services in the community" to help people and so their problems get "worse and worse and worse until it becomes life-threatening and then they end up in hospital."
Quinn is also calling for better "education about some of those signs" that emerge before losing weight such as "low self-esteem, to do with perhaps strange behaviour around food. If it’s purging [look out for] going to the toilet after every meal."
He added that what's important to understand "is that actually for most people it’s not really about trying to lose weight.
"For some body image plays a role, but for many it’s a coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, low self-esteem. In some ways it’s another form of self harm."
Listen to the full interview above. If you're affected by eating disorders you can call the Beat helpline on 0808 801 0677