Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bulimia at the House of Commons

Well done to John Prescott for highlighting the plight of bulimia. In the words of Consultant psychiatrist Dr Ty Glover, an eating disorders specialist at Cheadle Royal Hospital in Cheshire, said: "It's hard enough for a young girl to confess to, but for a high-profile male politician approaching 70, it's especially impressive. It's believed that one in ten bulimia sufferers are men but I have never in all my years as a consultant specialising in eating disorders come across a man this old suffering from bulimia. It seriously makes me think that maybe we're completely missing a whole audience of middle-aged men who are too scared to admit they have a problem."


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jmb said...

It is a very interesting confession indeed, well from an academic standpoint only. Since it obviously is very horrible for the individual involved.
I recently read the blog of a young man of 30 who admitted to bulemic behaviour. I thought how sad it was. He wants to be thinner but not make any food or drink sacrifices to do it.

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Thanks holy see.
JMB - good to hear from you. It is believed that bulimia is more prevelent than the reported data. These stories seem to concur with that.

Dina Ralt said...

Dear colleagues,
Bulimia is more common than assumed especially if one reffers to eating for the purpose of fat storage. I have summarised the scientific data in my blog and have decided not to call it bulimia but rather eating from an urge to store food for the future
yours, Dr. Dina Ralt

Ellee Seymour said...

How come he didn't lose loads of weight while bulimic? I've always viewed them as really thin. He must have been really ill.

Anonymous said...

"I have never in all my years as a consultant specialising in eating disorders come across a man this old suffering from bulimia."

Doesn't that tell you something?

"[M]aybe we're completely missing a whole audience of middle-aged men who are too scared to admit they have a problem."

So the fact that 1) almost no other man has come forward, and 2) that in all your 'years as a consultant specialising in eating disorders' you have never seen a man at Prescott's age with bulimia - is proof that 'we're completely missing a whole audience of middle-aged men'?

Any rational person would find that idea very difficult to swallow, without any hard evidence. If there is one thing that is positive about all of this, is the fact that Prescott has made bulimia seriously un-cool in the UK.

Crushed said...

Yes, but Courtney, that doesn't help people with Bulimia. And more men do it, than admit to doing it, I'm sure.

A lot of people don't understand it. Most people eat regular meals. Some of us, decide to eat only when we are hungry and will stave off meals whn we don't think we really need them. Then one day, we wake up straving. By lunchtime, we are feeling faint. At some point, thoughts of juicy burgers or Pizzas will triump and the excitement of a real blow out on food becomes appealing. And in the space of ten minutes, a pizza, a large Cadbury's milk chocolate and two packs of crisps have ben consumed- followed shortly by a chicken and bacon slice and liberal helpings of guilt.

Still, the answer is at hand. Go to the pub and drink fast. Make yourself fel a little quesy, and when you get back in, one tug of your fingers at the back of your throat works.

And oddly, you don't actually wake up hungry.

Anonymous said...

Ellee Seymour - Like most people (probably due to incorrect media inferences), you are confusing bulimia with anorexia. Sufferers of bulimia maintain a 'normal' to 'above normal' bodyweight. You yourself may know (without actually 'knowing')many people who have bulimia, as low weight is not at all an indicator of this illness. The person who binges and purges AND maintains a low weight is classified as having 'anorexia (binge/purge subtype). I'm well aware of such labels as I have been labelled the latter myself. I am also dubious as to the actual merits of 'labelling' through my own experiences. Labelled 'bulimic' for 8 years (I was 'normal' weight) and treated as such for that duration (CBT, CBT and...more CBT),I then found myself in the 'anorexic' category (in which I still belong) when my weight dipped but a few pounds below the 'norm'. My weight continued to fall despite (and -to a certain extent- I believe BECAUSE of) 'best practice' interventions for the treatment of anorexia (i.e. inpatient refeeding in an attempt to restore weight). By attempting to increase my weight, without addressing the prominent bulimic aspects (food addiction for example) my bulimic behaviours increased on discharge and my physical health deteriorated rapidly. This is a cycle I have been trapped in for the last few years until, recently, I have been handed the reins of my own treatment by my consultant in an attempt to take back some control. This is 'out of the box' thinking. In my experience consultants and other medical professionals place too much importance on labelling and trying to fit their patients into nice, neat, quantifiable boxes. Instead of pushing boundaries and attempting to tailor the treatment plan to the individual.
Apologies for the fairly massive tangent I just hopped on, but I feel the more it is said, the more it is heard, the more it is considered to be the way forward in treating not just eating disordered folk, but mental illness in general.

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