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Maddy Austin recovered from a serious eating disorder that threatened her life and bewildered her distraught family, including her newsreader father, Mark Austin. See his story on video on our Youtube channel. (link at end).

After a successful treatment of the eating disorder, Maddy and Mark find their ability to communicate, which was so damaged by the illness, is stronger than ever. This is a story that may bring hope to thousands of parents who have children with similar conditions. Prince William, who is currently fronting Heads2gether and praising his mother Diana’s openness about her bulimia, wrote to Mark and Maddy. He wrote: “I wanted to say how brave it was of you. By telling your story to the nation, you are helping to highlight the importance of sharing and having open conversations, which in time we hope will help to reduce the fear and shame that can often go hand-in-hand with mental health.”

Another TV documentary on Mark and Maddy screened on 24th August 2017, Channel 4, at 10 pm.

Recent statistics from NHS Digital show an increase of up to 70% of episodes of hospitalisation for eating disorders among men and women. The peak age of onset is still among teenagers however without early intervention and treatment, the condition often becomes chronic and continues into later life. Mark Austin felt he’d “messed up as a Dad”. But there is only one thing a  parent can really do and that is get expert help as soon as possible. Family Therapy based eating disorder treatments support the whole family in skills to deal with the condition during and after treatment.

Ellern Mede is one of the leading London-based private treatment centres able to offer immediate private assessment and treatment. Our four centres can take enquiries nationally and internationally. Our clinical director Dr Hind Al Khairulla is one of the foremost experts in the world on treating children and young people and has a very high success rate.

If you think you, or someone close to you has an eating disorder, don’t hesitate and wait until the symptoms are undeniable. Seek expert help. Don’t be afraid to get the diagnosis because it’s the first step on the road to recovery. This is what to watch out for:


  • Significant weight loss/low body weight
  • Distorted body image
  • Fear of, or behavior interfering with, weight gain
  • Preoccupation with weight, calories, food, etc.
  • Feelings of guilt after eating
  • Denial of severity of low weight
  • High levels of anxiety and/or depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-injury
  • Social isolation
  • Excuses for not eating/denial of hunger
  • Food rituals
  • Intense, dramatic mood swings
  • Pale appearance/yellowish skin tone
  • Thin, dull, and dry hair, skin, and nails
  • Cold intolerance/hypothermia
  • Fatigue/dizziness/fainting
  • Abuse of laxatives, diet pills, or diuretics
  • Excessive and compulsive exercise


  • Bingeing and purging
  • Lack of control over eating
  • Secretive eating/missing food
  • Visits to the bathroom after meals
  • Preoccupation with food
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Self-injury
  • Excessive and compulsive exercise regimes despite fatigue, illness, or injury
  • Abuse of laxatives, diet pills, and/or diuretics
  • Swollen parotid glands in cheeks and neck
  • Discoloration and/or staining of teeth
  • Broken blood vessels in eyes and/or face
  • Calluses on the back of hands/knuckles from self-induced vomiting
  • Sore throat

Watch Mark Austin’s story on video on Ellern Mede’s Youtube channel here.