Frequently Asked Questions

 

When should I get help?

You’ve come to this site and others like it because you feel you, or a friend or relative, have an eating disorder and you want to know when is the right time to do something about it?

The short answer is “now” and the long answer is “sooner is better than later”.

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When is the Resource Centre open?

9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday.

Where is the Resource Centre located?

12 Chatsworth Rd, Greenslopes, 4120, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

I don’t live in Queensland, I live in a different Australian State, can you help me?

Yes, of course. At the very least we will be able to provide you with a basic information package. Remember, there may be an organisation in your state. Have a look at our list of other Australian organisations which will have local information for your area.

How many people have Bulimia?

Incidence and prevalence rates for bulimia nervosa have been estimated at widely varying levels.

Part of the problem in determining this is that many people with bulimia don’t report their symptoms and are treated only for the complications, with their prime condition never being diagnosed.

At least two studies have indicated that only about one tenth of the cases of bulimia in the community are detected (Hoek 1995, and Ontario Health Survey, 1996). Other studies show that on average people with DSM IV classifiable bulimia nervosa have the disorder for 7.5 years before detection (Turnbull et al, 1996).

The rate for bulimia nervosa seems to be growing steadily (Turnbull et al, and Hoek) particularly in young women. A study of Dutch data bases showed a one year prevalence rate to be 170 per 100,000 young females attending GPs, and an estimated rate of 1500 per 100,000 in the community (Hoek).

International community studies have shown a lifetime prevalence for bulimia of 1.6% and for binge eating disorder 3.2%. (Gotestam and Agras). The Australian Longitudinal Women’s Health showed that 4.8% of the 15000 subjects in the 18 to 22 year age group might be diagnosed with bulimia nervosa, and almost 20% had symptoms of binge eating disorder.

How many people have Anorexia?

A study by Rastam, Gillberg and Garton in Sweden in 1989 used a two stage interview process with schoolgirls, and found a prevalence rate for anorexia nervosa of 0.7% in girls up to the age of 16 years.

“This is a little lower than earlier rates, but arguably the most accurate estimation in a western population to date.” (Szmukler and Patton, 1995; p 179). The Australian Longitudinal Women’s Health Study (1997) found the same rate of anorexia n. in 15,000 women aged 18 to 22 years. Lifetime prevalence rates for anorexia n. has been found at 0.4% (Gotestam and Agras, 1995).

How many people die from Eating Disorders?

There are high rates of morbidity and mortality associated with eating disorders.

Without access to adequate specialised care, about 60% of people with anorexia nervosa and about 40% of people with bulimia nervosa will remain chronically unwell.

Medical complications are common and include kidney disease, cardiac arrhythmia, gastrointestinal disorders, nutritional deficiencies, dental erosion, endocrine and metabolic disorders, haematologic disorders, osteoporosis, growth deficiency, and various electrolyte disturbances. (Kaplan and Garfinkel, 1993).

Psychiatric co-morbidity and complications are also common and include alcoholism and drug abuse, depression and suicide, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety (Halmi, 1995). In a study of people with anorexia nervosa treated at Maudsley Hospital (Herzog, et al, 1992), “The medical morbidity of a series of 103 patients over 12 years was described in detail. Fifteen percent died.

The causes of death fell within four areas: suicide, infection, gastrointestinal complications and severe emaciation. Thirty-five percent of the survivors had an associated medical disorder. Osteoporosis with multiple fractures and terminal renal deficiency accounted for the most severe disability. Infections were common.”

What causes Eating Disorders?

There is no simple answer to this question.

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are complex, multifaceted physical and mental health problems and their development usually has a number of different contributing and perpetuating factors.

These factors could be any (or a combination of) the following: physical, emotional, or sexual trauma, cultural emphasis or preoccupation with body image ideals, peer influences, loss and grief, starvation, brain chemistry, purging behaviours, physiological effects of dieting, relationships, stress, coping styles etc.

The complexity of these disorders is often not appreciated by family and friends. There are no simple solutions and no quick fixes.

When should I get help?

Okay, you’ve come to this site and others like it because you feel you, or a friend/relative, have an eating disorder and you want to know when is the right time to do something about it?

The short answer is “now” and the long answer is “sooner is better than later”.

In our experience, the longer someone has an eating disorder without intervention the harder it is to begin the journey to recovery. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve had an eating disorder, the sooner you decide to get help the sooner you can recover.

I have a school/university assignment…

The Resource Centre Library has a comprehensive collection of photocopied articles, manuals, some journal collections and many self help resources you can utilise.

We are open 9am-4pm Monday to Thursday. Our library includes a wide range of publications on eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, body image and related issues. A photocopier is availableUnfortunately we are unable to answer individual assignment questions.

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