Eating disorder sufferer wants more support to those battling illnesses

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 August 2018

Ness and Jack. Picture by Mike Lang.

Ness and Jack. Picture by Mike Lang.


A woman who has battled an eating disorder for most of her life feels the emphasis for health bosses needs to be on dealing with the root causes.

Nessa Holbrow and Jack raised nearly £1,200 for charity.Nessa Holbrow and Jack raised nearly £1,200 for charity.

Nessa Holbrow, of Berrow, has suffered with anorexia brought upon by a childhood trauma more than 25 years ago.

When she first entered the psychiatric care system in the 1980s she was misdiagnosed with borderline personality disorder but believes if she was diagnosed with complex trauma, she may no longer be suffering.

Nessa told the Mercury: “Complex trauma has its origins in childhood trauma but was not recognised by the psychiatric system 25 years ago.

“It depends on a myriad of things but if a child suffers trauma from their immediate caregiver, the person they are most attached to, it can result in somebody developing a lot of problems in later life.

“My anorexia was brought upon by a deeper cause which has gone undiagnosed for so long but if I had the right diagnosis and treatment then I may not be suffering now.”

Complex trauma will officially be recognised in the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) guidelines when they are next updated in December.

A spokesman from the clinical commissioning group said: “While this may be of little comfort to people who have lived with an eating disorder throughout their adult life, the emphasis for local services has been upon raising awareness and early intervention.

“The age of those most frequently seeking help are 14 to 24-year-olds.

Nessa, aged 47, wants people of all ages to receive treatment and support they need to find the root cause for their conditions as early as possible.

She added: “It is no one person’s fault and I know the health authorities have their hands tied but I do feel a sense of injustice.

“These illnesses are difficult to understand as they do not simply tick a box, so it is difficult for doctors or other members of staff to know what to do.

“There must be other adults living like me in Somerset and I want to use my voice and raise awareness to help them while I am still here.”

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