The global pandemic has seen a rise in eating disorders being diagnosed and there's no clinic in Luxembourg to treat people.
Speaking with Diana Reid, a registered dietitian nutritionist, and Claudia de Boer, a psychologist and psychotherapist, we discuss the complex variety of eating disorders and how we can help either ourselves or those we care about.
Luxembourg has no facility such as a clinic or hospital where people can go to seek advice or care. Indeed, this type of issue requires a multi-armed web of help: friends / family + doctor + nutritionist / dietician + psychotherapist.
There seems to be a lack of trained professionals in Luxembourg also. Indeed, since COVID started, Diana's practice has massively surged to take in clients with eating disorders and she has rapidly had to add to her training.
Eating disorders serve a purpose. They are rarely just about eating but point to other issues; they are usually multifactorial.
Anorexia nervosa affects nearly 1% of female adolescents, with a ration of 9:1 female to male. It's extremely serious in that up to 10% of these patients can die.
Bulimia nervosa affects about 1-2% of young women and has the same ratio of female to male, although it's not as well researched as it only became a diagnosis in the eighties.
Binge Eating Disorder, also relatively recently diagnosed, affects 3% of the adult population and here the ratio female to male is 3:2.
Besides these three more clearly defined eating disorders there are a spectrum of eating issues not specified, into which the majority of patients are pooled (50-70%).
There is no 'look' for an eating disorder - it can affect any person, any age, any gender, any ethnicity, any body size, any sexuality. Indeed for many groups the research is severely lacking.
The 'diet culture' is insidious and pervasive. it creates unrealistic standards which can physically and psychologically damage people, often at a period of development in their lives.
By skipping meals you decrease the body's inate ability to regulate stress and the brain is one of the first organ's to struggle. And so, until this balance of calorie and nutrient intake is reestabllished, it is not possible to conduct cognitive work, which relies on a functioning brain.
If you have any questions you would like to put to Diana and Claudia don't hesitate to get in touch and your concerns will be dealt with in a compassionate and confidential manner. I may do another podcast in order to answer questions which might arise from this discussion.
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