Recently, Jessica Brown Findlay, star of Downton Abbey, spoke out about her eating disorder. This opens the door to talk more openly about this illness that affects about 725,000 people in the UK. Females account for about 80% of this number.

What Is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is a mental illness defined by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person’s physical or mental health. This means that it is very serious and should be treated as soon as possible. Studies have shown that the sooner an eating disorder is treated, the less severe it is and its duration is also affected.

Anyone can develop an eating disorder – males and females are both affected, and there is no age limit. Certain types of eating disorders occur in adolescence while others can happen at any time. There are a few types of eating disorders:

·         Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED);

·         Bulimia Nervosa;

·         Binge Eating Disorder; and

·         Anorexia Nervosa.

Each eating disorder has its own signs and warning symptoms as well as identifying traits and should be treated as a serious illness by professionals specialising in the treatment of eating disorders.

What Are the General Warning Signs and Symptoms?

There are several signs and symptoms to look out for to figure out if you are suffering:

1)     Physical Warning Signs

·        One of the first warning signs is when somebody loses weight rapidly, or there are frequent weight fluctuations

·        You may also feel tired and sleepy more frequently than other people

·        You may also feel cold, even if it is a warm day.

2)     Psychological Signs

·        People with an eating disorder will obsess about eating, their weight, their body shape and food in general

·        Mealtime may become a time fraught with anxiety or irritability

·        You may feel ‘out of control’ when you are around food

·        You may see food as either good or bad with no grey areas in between

·        You may have a distorted body image

·        You may indulge in frequent comfort eating to alleviate stress, boredom, or depression.

3)     Behavioural Warning Signs

·        A person with an eating disorder may constantly be fasting, counting calories, or avoid certain food groups such as carbs and fats

·        You may want to eat in private and avoid eating your meals with other people

·        You may indulge in binge eating where food either disappears or is hoarded

·        There may also be frequent trips to the bathroom either during the meal or shortly after it.

·        There may be signs of either vomiting or the overuse of laxatives.

What Do I Do If I Have an Eating Disorder?

It is possible to recover from an eating disorder, as Jessica attests to. A good start is to start talking to somebody about your feelings; both about yourself and your body. Jessica points out that she felt very lonely and that she could not tell anybody about how she felt. That has now changed. She points out, “If you are lucky enough to speak and be heard, it might be something that could be useful to others. The more we have brave discussions like that going forward, the easier it is to talk about things, and the less alone we can feel. It’s certainly made me feel less alone.”

We Can Help You

Liberty House specialises in treating addictions as well as eating disorders. We offer a 24/7 service with a call-back promise. If you need to talk, all you have to do is pick up the phone and call us. Our therapists and counsellors are highly trained, skilled and experienced in dealing with any issues that you may have. We make all the arrangements for you can offer you immediate admittance to the clinic if that is required. The clinic offers a safe and secure environment for you to start your recovery process and build the confidence that you need to live a full and fulfilling life.

It is important to involve your family and friends in your recovery process as they will need to understand what you are going through and the challenges that you face. Recovery is an ongoing process, and you need to learn to look out for signs and symptoms that could indicate that you are relapsing into old and undesirable eating habits.

Once you have completed your inpatient recovery programme, we offer you a year’s free aftercare to ensure that you have the support and assistance that you need to not relapse. Our therapists and counsellors are ready, willing, and able to help you whenever you need it and it is advisable to make the most of this opportunity. The more you talk about your eating disorder and accept yourself for who you are, the better your chances of a full recovery.

Take that first step and admit that you need help. Then give us a call so that we can start your recovery journey together.


  1. (NEDC) Eating Disorders Explained
  2. (NEDC) Understanding the warning signs
  3. (Refinery29) Downton Abbey Actress Speaks Bravely About Her Eating Disorder
  4. (Wikipedia) Eating Disorder