Exclusive: Over 700 cases of eating disorders referred by GPs during pandemic

More than seven hundred cases of eating disorders have been referred by GPs in the past eighteen months.Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, seven hundred and three cases of anorexia and bulimia have been referred by GPs alone. Laurence was only 16 years-old when he developed bulimia - the illness quickly took hold and took over his life.

His mother tried to help, but struggled to get through to her son. For eight years, Laurence was caught up in a vicious cycle of starvation, then binging, resulting in a major hear attack which led to his death at just 24. Behind closed doors, many people suffer from eating disorders. It could be anorexia, bulimia or both. All ages are affected. The full scale of the problem is not fully known, because people can be very secretive about this illnesses. But new figures obtained by UTV provide an insight into just how big this is. The figure of 703 doesn't include referrals from other services, or the countless others who've yet to come to terms with the fact they have a serious and potentially life threatening illness. The Laurence Trust, based in east Belfast, was set up to honour Laurence's memory. Further information and support about eating disorders can be found on their website here.