Disease is not a fad

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SNP MSP Dennis Robertson called on GPs to stop treating food disorders as eating fads.

Speaking ahead of a debate in the Scottish Parliament, the MSP for Aberdeenshire West said:“It may shock people to learn that in Britain it is estimated around one in every 250 women will experience anorexia nervosa in their lives.

“I have a personal experience with this devastating disease and know the effects eating disorders can have on people’s lives.

“My daughter Caroline was diagnosed with anorexia when she was 13 years old. When she started to show the symptoms, we were quick to react as a family.

“We became aware that some of her habits had changed. She became fairly obsessed about her exercise patterns and she took control of what we ate as a family – and even took control of the household shopping by going online and ordering food.

“During the five years of her illness, Caroline’s health deteriorated quite significantly to the point she became so ill she was in and out of residential clinics. Then towards the end she contracted a bug which meant she wasn’t retaining fluids and wasn’t retaining anything in terms of food.

“My personal experience is the principal reason I brought forward this debate. I want to get rid of some of the myths surrounding eating disorders. I want GPs and some other medical professionals to take it maybe a little more seriously than they do at the moment and for it to be recognised it is not an eating fad, as it is quite often dismissed as that.

“I want greater understanding and awareness. The medical profession need to take this more seriously than they do at present. I don’t want other families to go through the torture and torment we went through as a family. If we can save lives doing this, that’s the ultimate goal.”