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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February 2005, 12:02 GMT
'My GP took three years to refer me;
Woman in silhouette
Patients often take years to admit they have an eating disorder
The Eating Disorders Association has published a report showing most people with anorexia and bulimia do not receive the recommended level of care.

Here, one woman tells how it took three years for her GP to refer her for the specialist treatment she needed.

Andi, 31, from Cambridge, first showed signs of anorexia when she was 13.

"I had been living in the US, and I was unhappy when I came back to the UK.

My GP wasn't very good

"It wasn't a conscious thing. I just stopped eating, and I lost about a stone in weight."

Andi went from weighing 8st (50kg) to 6st 7lbs (41kg).

"People started to comment. After that, I went through phases of eating normally and then starving myself.

"But then, when I was 19, my boyfriend committed suicide. I couldn't cope.

"I stopped eating and went down to just 6st (38kg).

'In agony'

"People left me for a while because I was grieving, but then they started to say things.

"I then became bulimic. I felt like I'd lost control of everything and my eating was the only thing I did have control of.

"For the first couple of years , my body was fine. But then my periods stopped, I started passing out and I was having circulation problems.

"But it was only when my kidneys stopped working that I decided I had to do something.

"I was in agony."

"I was always aware I had a problem, but I wasn't prepared to do anything about it. But after that, I kept asking him to refer me.

"But my GP wasn't very good. He more-or-less said that it was self-inflicted, it wasn't cancer.

"That was when I was 22. I didn't have treatment until I was 25.

"But even then, I would have had to wait six to nine months for NHS treatment, so my parents paid for me to have private treatment."

She added: "I wish that care was available when someone comes in to see the GP."

Eating disorder care criticised
07 Feb 05 |  Health

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