'Twitter Trolls Leading To More Eating Disorders In West Midlands'

16 March 2015, 06:44 | Updated: 16 March 2015, 07:57

Heart's been told more adults are developing eating disorders because of comments made about them by trolls on Twitter.

Dr Kenneth Goss, a psychologist treating patients from Coventry and Warwickshire says, they are having to rethink the way they treat patients because of social media as many girls are finding it harder to recover if they are bullied online.

He's encouraging people not to turn to sites like afecbook and twitter for support groups for those with eating disorders as he says it makes them vulnerable and they could be targeted by trolls.

22-year-old mum of two Jo Thomspon from Solihull had anorexia from the age of eleven.

She's told Heart she doesn't think she'd have recovered if she'd have had social media at the time.

It comes as a Heart investigation's revealed there were nearly 1,000 eating disorder related admissions at hospitals in the West Midlands in the year to December 2014.

Of those around 80 per cent were female.

A response from a freedom of information request Heart issued to all hospital trusts throughout the region, showed that the total number of admissions was 994 in the 12 months from December 2013.

 The trust where the most admissions were seen was University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire where there were 231.

And although male cases were less frequent compared to female admissions, there were more than most across the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals trust where there were 88 admissions.

The figures given to Heart also account for eating disorder related admissions at Birmingham Children's Hospital, which had 67.

That trust told us that although there's no pattern as such when it comes to peaks at set times of the year for total admissions, the number of patients at the pre-school age of zero to four seems to increase in December and October.

For five to ten year-olds admissions were steady all year round, and for admissions of children aged 12 plus, there were peaks in January to February, and June.

None of the information released to Heart suggested that any patient across the whole region were hospitalised for longer than six months for an eating disorder related illness.