Eating disorders


Age at interview: 16

Brief outline: Suzanne started being sick involuntarily after eating when she was 14 and was later diagnosed with EDNOS (eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). She has seen a GP and school counsellor but would prefer to see someone specialised in eating disorders.

Background: Suzanne is 16 and a student.

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Suzanne remembers starting to have body issues around the age of 12. She felt “fat” and “hated” herself. She says food had always been an issue at home, she wasn’t given regular meals and got used to feeding herself on unhealthy snacks. When she was 14 she suddenly started being sick after eating – not at all deliberately. This soon intensified and Suzanne was being sick every day, at home and at school. Suzanne was also self-harming.
Suzanne started to get annoyed and worried about the situation and went to see a GP who said she might have borderline eating disorder and sent her away. Suzanne felt patronised and was left with more questions than answers. After a short while, Suzanne went to see another GP who gave her acid tablets but they made no difference. Suzanne was still being sick, although it was cyclical; coming and going. Suzanne saw a third GP who almost straightaway diagnosed her with EDNOS; ‘Eating Disorder Otherwise Specified’. Suzanne says the diagnosis wasn’t a surprise as she had pretty much diagnosed herself as having an eating disorder. More than anything, the diagnosis was a relief.
Suzanne saw the GP a few times to talk things through. She wasn’t referred further because she felt unable to attend counselling sessions at times and places without having to tell her family. After a while of seeing the GP, Suzanne got very frustrated and wasn’t finding the sessions helpful. Her teacher suggested seeing the school counsellor who Suzanne saw a couple of times but didn’t receive the help she needed as the counsellor wasn’t specialised in dealing with eating disorders. Suzanne has not been given any information about EDNOS or eating disorders generally and has had to find all the information herself. She hasn’t told her family anything about the problems and has gotten most of the support from a good trusted friend and online forums. 
Suzanne is in Sixth Form and looking forward to moving out of home soon. She believes cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could be beneficial for her and wants to find a therapist who understands about eating disorders and who she could see regularly. Suzanne says there is a real lack of understanding of eating disorders and describes a lot of stereotypes that can prevent people from being taken seriously.


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