4th November, 2021 11:06 am
Cambridgeshire Dad Simon Brown shares Emma’s story with ITV News Anglia’s Sarah Cooper
A father who lost his 27-year-old daughter to an eating disorder has shed light on his desperate battle to help her.
Simon Brown, from Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, lost his daughter Emma to an eating disorder three years ago.
He said: “It was as if all of that drive and talent and determination was hijacked by this vicious illness and it drove her to her eventual death and it destroyed pretty much everything around her.
“As the coroner into Emma’s death put it really succinctly, he said the tragedy is not just the loss of life, it’s also the loss of potential.”
Speaking to ITV News Anglia, Simon says he isn’t surprised by new research showing more than half of people experience their first symptoms when they’re over 18.
He adds that often the condition can be triggered by something else in an eating disorder sufferers’ life.
The report includes data from the UK Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI UK) and Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) studies- using more than 10,000 UK participants- the first research of this scale looking at the age of onset of eating disorders in the UK.
The study was led by researchers at King’s College London and published in collaboration with the Norfolk based eating disorder charity Beat.
It found that 60.2% (4,407) first experienced low weights when they were over the age of 18.
Gerome Breen, Professor of Psychiatric Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience’ at King’s College London said: “There is a tendency to see eating disorders as starting in childhood or adolescence.
“However our study indicates that there’s a majority of people may experience eating disorders for the first time when they are adults.
“This in no way takes away from the absolute importance of addressing eating disorders in young people but it does indicate that policy-makers need to think more broadly about the range of people affected by eating disorders and their different needs.”
Beat’s Director of External Affairs, Tom Quinn, said: “This research provides further valuable evidence that many people first develop an eating disorder in early adulthood.
“This – along with rising referrals – highlights a clear need for much greater investment in eating disorder services for adults in every part of the UK.
“Everyone affected by an eating disorder needs rapid access to high-quality treatment in their local area. It is essential that these services are properly funded and healthcare professionals provided with sufficient training to spot the first signs of an eating disorder, to support appropriate referral for a specialist assessment.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this report, here’s where to get help.
Get in touch with your local GP, or reach out to eating disorder charity Beat via their website or on 0808 801 0677
To sign up to the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative click here
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