Skip to main content

Updated : August 1, 2022 2.5 mins read

Eating disorder | Support for professionals

Updated : August 1, 2022 2.5 mins read

Article Eating disorders

Provisions for people with eating disorders are lacking in Scotland, despite a reported increase in eating disorder rate in under 18’s during lockdown. The provisions that are in place focus mainly on anorexia for the most severely ill.

This means young people at risk of developing or at the beginning of an eating disorder might not get the help they need until they are at the more severe end of the spectrum.

Signs a young person might have an eating disorder

If you’re working with a child, it might be harder to spot the early signs of an eating disorder. As a professional you might pick up on the following:

  • Routinely forgetting their lunch or throwing most of it away
  • Restricting what foods or snacks they eat
  • Asking to go to the bathroom after eating
  • Appearing tired easily or fainting
  • Excessive water drinking
  • Appearing withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Being bullied, especially around weight or body image
  • Struggling with transition – moving home, school, exams
  • Parents divorcing
  • Difficulties at home or with friends

Supporting a young person with an eating disorder

A young person diagnosed with an eating disorder might be reluctant with their treatment and recovery plans. As a professional working with them, it might take them some time before they accept help and support.

Support you can give:

  • Talk to the young person, and their parents if appropriate, to ask what support they would like.
  • Provide them with somewhere they can eat separated if they want. You might need to sit with them to make sure they eat a certain amount.
  • Be aware of the young person’s triggers or signs they are struggling.
  • If they have been in hospital, had an education break or not seen their peers for some time, this might cause some anxiety.
  • Therapy is often a recommended treatment for eating disorder, the young person may need time to attend or may ask to speak to a professional they trust if they need to talk to someone.
  • Never promise to keep information confidential or a secret if a young person discloses they have an eating disorder.
  • Always follow up any concerns you have for a young person and work in their best interests.

Get Help now

If you are concerned about your mental health, or if you have found yourself feeling concerned about someone else, you can:

Call 111 – NHS 24

Call 116 123 – The Samaritans

Call 0800 83 85 87 – Breathing Space

Text: ‘YM’ to 85258 – Young Minds crisis chat

If you think you are in danger of hurting yourself or other people, you should call 999 or present to your local A&E department.