The shocking extent of eating disorders has been revealed, with almost 150 people seeking treatment last year.
Figures from 5 Boroughs Partnership show that the number of adults and children suffering from disorders such as body dysmorphia, anorexia and bulimia, has risen, from 109 in 2012/13 to 144 last year.
Of these, 114 were women and 21 were girls under 18.
A total of seven men were treated for eating disorders, with two boys aged under 18.
There are currently 10 youngsters and 53 adults seeking treatment with 5 Boroughs.
Dr Sandeep Ranote, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s eating disorder specialist, said: “It’s widely acknowledged that the number of people accessing and receiving treatment for eating disorders is at an all-time high. This is being tackled nationally through dedicated government funding of £30m a year for the next five years for young people’s specialist community eating disorder service development to address the differences between services offered in different areas.
“The reasons for the increase are complex and due to a combination of factors. Screening for and education about eating disorders is better than it’s ever been, meaning more people are recognising the signs and asking for help, and the detection by primary care health professionals is improving.
“Early intervention is crucial, with research showing that treatment within the first three to five years has the most impact.
“Teenagers are most at risk of developing an eating disorder, but services for young people aren’t consistent. This could be another factor contributing to why we’re now seeing more adults, who perhaps haven’t accessed support sooner.
“We truly believe it’s positive that more people are accessing our specialist eating disorder service in St Helens, and in other boroughs, and getting the help they need to treat and recover from their condition.
“If anyone is suffering from an eating disorder, or worried about a friend or family member, you should talk to your GP in the first instance. You can also call national eating disorder charity BEAT for confidential advice and support on 0345 634 1414. Alternatively, Talk Eating Disorders runs support groups across Merseyside; find out more at www.tedsuk.com.”