Researchers find young people leave “too late” to seek help for eating disorders, citing fear of losing control of their diet or weight, denial and inability to perceive the severity of the illness as reasons for not consulting a professional.

A recent online survey of nearly 300 young Australian adults between the ages of 18 and 25 found that a majority had eating, weight or body problems, and even those with anorexia or bulimia would have found reasons to delay treatment or expert intervention.

Published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, the study found that caring for others and the belief that people should solve their own problems were the two most common barriers to seeking help for people with disorders. food.

“Not wanting others to worry about their problems was the biggest obstacle approved – it reflects the desire for independence and also the fear of being a burden on others in this group of young adults,” said the researcher for the study Kathina Ali from Flinders University in Australia. .

In the study, the researchers recommended that clinicians (counselors, health workers and others) and the public be made aware of these barriers. More information and education on the severity and impact of eating disorders – and on how symptoms can worsen without intervention or treatment – should be available to young adults, including importance of seeking help and self-management strategies, they said.

“Feeling embarrassed by their problems or fearing that other people do not believe that eating disorders are real illnesses even prevented young adults with symptoms of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa from asking for help “said study co-author Dan Fassnacht.

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“It is worrying that only a minority of people with symptoms of eating disorders have sought professional help and few thought they would need help despite the problems they encountered,” added Fassnacht .

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