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23 February 2010, 05:25
It's day two of our special reports of eating disorders during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
In the past nine months, two-thirds of people in Bedfordshire referred for treatment for eating disorders are young adults aged 18-35 years old.
Heart's got the figures from Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Social care Partnership NHS Trust - on day two of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
Their Specialist Community Eating Disorder Service provides psychological therapeutic assessment and treatment for people with moderate to severe eating disorders.
Working with a range of psychiatrists, community psychiatric nurses and dieticians, their services are based in the Disability Resources Centre in Dunstable with outreach work undertaken in Bedford.
Their figures show from 1st April 2007 - 31st January 2010 there were 438 referrals - 76% of those referrals were for patients that live in Bedfordshire with the remaining 24% being for patients in Luton.
During those 3 years, 83% of those referred were female.
Earlier Heart spoke to Francis Burrows from UK Charity BEAT, who spoke to us about the national figure for people with eating disorders, which currently stands at 1.6 million:
"When the official guidelines from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence were produced it said 1.1 million people in the UK has suffered from an eating disorder but that has since be revised to 1.6 million, but we're not sure whether that is actually because there are more people with eating disorders or is it because more people are actually having their eating disorder recognised.
"There's a real stigma attached with any mental illness, whether it's an eating disorder or depression or anything else, and people find it very difficult to open up to their family about it let alone going to talk to a doctor or a psychiatrist for example."
Alternatively if you have an eating disorder, or have a family member who needs help, you can get more advice at Caraline, which is based in Luton, by calling 01582 457474 Monday – Friday 10am-3pm.