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Panorama, NHS statistics, the Guardian, Channel 5 News – the media is tightly focused on the rising incidence of eating disorders among males. Traditionally a condition that affected females more than males, the undeniable fact of male eating disorders is ‘news’. Dr Eric Johnson-Sabine comments.

Dr Eric Johnson-Sabine is a consultant psychiatrist specialising in adult eating disorders. We asked him to comment on the statistics.

In Ellern Mede’s 17 years of treating eating disorders among young people aged 8 – 18, of 26 patients at a time, there are usually 2 to 3 male patients. Mindful of the desirability for single sex accommodation, particularly when the ratio of male to female patients is low, Ellern Mede took the step in 2016 of creating a dedicated Cottage environment as its male ward. The cottage is in the grounds of Ellern Mede Ridgeway. This is separate enough to afford young men up to age 18 their privacy, a separate dining and recreational area, but close enough that they have easy access to Ellern Mede School and to group therapy activities they enjoy.

So what are the statistics that has caused the current high interest? The number of adult British men being admitted to hospital with an eating disorder has risen by 70 per cent over the last six years according to NHS newly released figures at end of July 2017. Data showed the number of hospital diagnoses in males over 19 years of age rose from 480 in 2010-2011 to 818 between April 2015 and March 2016. The rate of increase was 63 per cent among 19- to 25-year-olds.

Ellern Mede consultant psychiatrist Dr Eric Johnson-Sabine has been very aware of the need for services for the 19 to 25 age group and specialises in delivering this. Initially, his work was mainly on an Outpatient basis and he launched Ellern Mede’s adult outpatient service in 2016, closely followed in 2017 by the launch of Ellern Mede’s short term symptom interruption based inpatient programme for adults. Dr Johnson-Sabine commented: “I found there were few suitable inpatient options for this age group, either male or female. We hope that our newly launched service at Ellern Mede Barnet will provide a new way for young adults to find help.” Click here to view our Adult Services Page.