PATRICIA Gibson MP has highlighted the need to talk about disordered eating behaviours as a way to tackle the stigma surrounding the conditions, as part of Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

The international event seeks to raise awareness and fight some of the myths and misunderstanding that surround conditions such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders.

People from all walks of life are coming forward to speak of disorders which are believed to affect more than 5,000 people here in Ayrshire.

Mrs Gibson said: “People who are in the darkest days of these disorders need to know they are not alone. Hearing the stories of those who have lived with this, but come through it and are in recovery, can be a powerful in helping people access the help they need.

“Social media has brought added complications. It often projects so-called perfect body images and, given how much young people are exposed to this, it is not difficult to see how a vulnerable young person could lose sight of what is a healthy or realistic look.

“We need to ensure that people with eating disorders can access care when they need it. So I am delighted that the SNP Government has announced that doctors will be given new guidelines to support the treatment and care of patients with eating disorders.

“Treatment will vary from patient to patient and our health services must be equipped to cope with the needs of those who live with this terrible condition.”

To obtain help and support, please contact BEAT, the UK’s Eating Disorder Charity on 0808 801 0677, click here, or call North Ayrshire and Arran’s Eating Disorder Service on 01294 279222.