women mental healthA new survey by the eating disorder charity Beat suggests that most sufferers are trapped in a six year cycle of treatment, recovery and relapse.

The report, 'Eating disorders - too high a price to pay', suggests that even after the cycle, there is a huge long term impact on the cost through NHS treatment, private, treatment, employment days lost, education and the price families have to pay out to visit people in hospital.

Chief executive Susan Heywood said: "The cost includes NHS treatment, private, treatment, employment days lost, cost to education and the price families have to pay out to visit people in hospital and be involved in their treatment and care."

In compiling the report the charity spoke to 435 people with a range of eating disorders and 82 carers across the UK, and found that on average:
- It costs £8,850 a year to treat a person for an eating disorder with some respondents indicating they've paid up to £100,000 annually.
- It costs sufferers under the age of twenty £650 a year in terms of loss of earnings and education
- It costs sufferers above twenty £9,500 a year in terms of loss of earnings and education
- It costs carers £5,950 a year in terms of loss of earnings

In order to reduce these costs and better support young people who suffer from eating disorders, Beat is calling for GPs, teachers and families and peers to be better trained on spotting problems early, delays in receiving diagnosis to getting treatment unblocked, and more funding for holistic treatments

In response to the report, Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb said: "The pressures of growing up in today's world are complex and can be very serious. We know that, if left untreated, eating disorders are devastating for those affected and their loved ones.

"That's why we're investing £150million to provide the right support at the right time and provide a lifeline for these families. This report makes a clear case for local areas to invest in better care for young people with eating disorders so that no-one is left struggling alone."