Eating disorders

Ewan

Male
Age at interview: 18
Age at diagnosis: 15

Brief outline: Ewan experienced bingeing and purging, and later anorexia nervosa, from the age of 14. With his mum's support, and together with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), he has overcome the eating disordered mindset and is on way to recovery.

Background: Ewan is 18 and doing his A-levels. He lives at home with his parents. White British.

Audio & video

Ewan says as a child he never had many friends, he used to rely on his parents and he felt larger than most of his peers. He’d always been clever and also sporty but not too bothered about his social life. As he moved to senior school things changed; he took up rugby, made more friends and his confidence grew. However, the pressure at school and peer groups, together with what Ewan calls “teenage angst” altogether got too much and Ewan turned to food for comfort. He started binge eating and purging through excessive exercise. After a while the bingeing turned to restricting food intake and dramatic weight loss.
 
Ewan says he could only think about his food input and output, everything else became meaningless. He was also severely depressed and had to drop out of school. Ewan was seen at CAMHS and with their help his mum tried to implement ‘the Maudsley method’ at home. Although this helped him put on some weight, his underlying mindset wasn’t addressed. That’s when his mum, together with CAMHS, came up “contract”; a reward method of addressing eating disordered behaviours and mindset and this has made a huge difference to Ewan. Every week he is set certain challenges that he attempts to take and at the end of the week gets assessed and awarded on how he has done. Ewan has been following the contract for well over a year and things that started as challenges have gradually become less and less so. At the moment his challenges are no longer related to what or how he is eating but to do with social life and friendships, to build up his confidence. Ewan has worked with his “brilliant” CAMHS psychiatrist and he has also found help in religion which he says saved him at the worst points of his life.
 
Ewan is looking forward to starting university, a whole new life phase and making new friends. He has been in touch with his prospective university and they have made a support plan together to enable a smooth transition. Ewan is also keen to do volunteering, to raise awareness of eating disorders, particularly affecting men.
 

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