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We aimed to interview people who had received inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa, to explore their perspectives on the impact their interactions with other patients during their admission had on their recovery, including short term and longer term effects.
We recruited people who had experienced inpatient admission for treatment of anorexia nervosa, and who had been recovered from anorexia nervosa for at least 12 months. We conducted semi-structured, one-to-one interviews, with nine individuals specifically exploring the helpful and unhelpful aspects of peer relationships during inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.
We interviewed nine individuals. Five themes were indentified: comparison and justification, learnt unhelpful behaviours, dealing with distress, new-found compassion, and role-modelling. All participants expressed conflicting feelings about their relationships with peers, but generally described more resilience in resisting negative effects as they got closer to recovery. Positive effects, such a new-found compassion, appeared to hold significance long term in participants’ ‘recovered’ lives.
The detailed exploration of themes in this study provides a deeper understanding of the complex nature of peer relationships amongst people experiencing inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa. This could aid clinical decision making when choosing appropriate treatment settings for individual patients as well as informing clinical practice in inpatient units.
Eating disorders are stigmatised. Little is known about whether stigma has decreased over time and which groups hold more stigmatising beliefs.
To explore whether stigma towards eating disorders has changed between 1998 and 2008 and whether it varies by sociodemographic characteristics.
We used the Office for National Statistics Omnibus surveys 1998 and 2008. As outcomes, we selected four questions eliciting participants’ views on issues of blame and ability to recover, and compared their mean scores across eating disorders, depression and alcohol dependence in both years. We used multivariable linear regressions to investigate associations between sociodemographic characteristics and each stigma domain.
In total, 2720 participants had data on all variables of interest. Compared with 1998, in 2008 stigmatising views towards eating disorders improved. In both years, participants believed it was easier to recover from eating disorders than depression or alcohol dependence. Respondents believed people with eating disorders were more to blame for their condition than those with depression, but less than those with alcohol dependence. Men, those with less formal education, and those from ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to place greater blame on individuals for their mental illness. Men were more likely than women to think it was possible to recover from an eating disorder.
Stigmatising attitudes towards people with eating disorders have improved over time, but are still greater than those observed for other mental illnesses. Improving eating disorder mental health literacy could help to reduce these negative views and lead to improved quality of life, greater help-seeking and better prognosis.
Gloucestershire Health Care Trust operates an “all age” out of hours on-call rota, staffed by Registrars and Consultants who cross-cover all psychiatric sub-specialities. Our aim was to understand the challenges faced by psychiatrists of different professional backgrounds when assessing under 18 year olds in a health-based Place of Safety (POS).
We circulated a survey to all psychiatrists on the on-call rota, to gather quantitative and qualitative information on the challenges posed by assessments of under-18s in a POS and assess whether an under-18 specific policy was needed.
Out of the 50 psychiatrists invited, 27 completed this survey (during February 2021). 33.3% of respondents reported that they had completed a POS assessment of an under 18-year-old when a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist/Registrar was not available to join. 33.3% of respondents had been asked to complete such an assessment as the sole psychiatrist joining the AMHP, with 24% of those respondents reporting feeling uncomfortable doing these assessments without a second doctor present, and an additional 24% feeling comfortable only sometimes. 48.1% of the doctors surveyed did not invite parents or carers to take part in the assessment, despite this being considered best practice, citing reasons such as: being unaware that this was a possibility, assessments conducted at unsociable hours, safeguarding concerns involving the parents, and social distancing in the context of COVID-19. 41% of respondents had assessed vulnerable young people (children looked after or with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum condition) in the POS and reported that these assessments posed significant challenges to safe discharge planning and identifying appropriate placements. 81.5% felt that a tailored policy for young people was needed. Qualitative findings suggest psychiatrists think such a policy should include clear procedures (flowcharts), potential outcome scenarios/options for safe discharge, referral criteria for CAMHS, contact details for key staff members, a handover protocol. Respondents felt a shared policy with all stakeholders (AMHP service, Mental Health Services, police) was required.
Our survey highlights the challenges for non-CAMHS specialists assessing under 18s in a health-based POS and the need for an under-18 policy to support safe practice. Major themes will be further explored in a focus group to guide policy development.
Self-harm and eating disorders are often comorbid in clinical samples but their co-occurrence in the general population is unclear. Given that only a small proportion of individuals who self-harm or have disordered eating present to clinical services, and that both self-harm and eating disorders are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, we aimed to study these behaviours at a population level.
We assessed the co-occurrence of self-harm and disordered eating behaviours in 3384 females and 2326 males from a UK population-based cohort: the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Participants reported on their self-harm and disordered eating behaviours (fasting, purging, binge-eating and excessive exercise) in the last year via questionnaire at 16 and 24 years. At each age we assessed how many individuals who self-harm also reported disordered eating, and how many individuals with disordered eating also reported self-harm.
We found high comorbidity of self-harm and disordered eating. Almost two-thirds of 16-year-old females, and two-in-five 24-year-old males who self-harmed also reported some form of disordered eating. Young people with disordered eating reported higher levels of self-harm at both ages compared to those without disordered eating.
As self-harm and disordered eating commonly co-occur in young people in the general population, it is important to screen for both sets of difficulties to provide appropriate treatment.
The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures are likely to have a marked effect on mental health. It is important to use longitudinal data to improve inferences.
To quantify the prevalence of depression, anxiety and mental well-being before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, to identify groups at risk of depression and/or anxiety during the pandemic.
Data were from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) index generation (n = 2850, mean age 28 years) and parent generation (n = 3720, mean age 59 years), and Generation Scotland (n = 4233, mean age 59 years). Depression was measured with the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire in ALSPAC and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 in Generation Scotland. Anxiety and mental well-being were measured with the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment-7 and the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.
Depression during the pandemic was similar to pre-pandemic levels in the ALSPAC index generation, but those experiencing anxiety had almost doubled, at 24% (95% CI 23–26%) compared with a pre-pandemic level of 13% (95% CI 12–14%). In both studies, anxiety and depression during the pandemic was greater in younger members, women, those with pre-existing mental/physical health conditions and individuals in socioeconomic adversity, even when controlling for pre-pandemic anxiety and depression.
These results provide evidence for increased anxiety in young people that is coincident with the pandemic. Specific groups are at elevated risk of depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is important for planning current mental health provisions and for long-term impact beyond this pandemic.
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