Greater knowledge about research and treatment of eating disorders
4 April 2023
Eating disorders occur through an interaction between hereditary vulnerability and environmental factors. “My hope is that our research will help us understand more about why some people are affected, and that this knowledge will help us prevent more people from becoming ill,” says Mia Ramklint, Specialist Physician and Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
An eating disorder can involve a person thinking too much about their body and what they eat. Losing control and either eating too much or too little. The eating disorder can affect and damage both the body and psychological well-being.
For most people with an eating disorder, the disorder develops during adolescence. The majority of those who seek care recover, but approximately 20 percent develop more prolonged and severe symptoms.
“More girls than boys are affected, but there may be undetected cases as fewer boys seek care than girls,” explains Ramklint. “Currently, a few percent of the population suffer from an eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa often begins a few years before bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder appears last.”
Eating disorders affect people’s lives and surrounding environment
There is a lack of early epidemiological studies, but the available research data suggests that eating disorders have become increasingly common since the 1960s.
“It is common for those who are affected by an eating disorder to experience anxiety and suffering,” continues Ramklint. “Many feel that the disease takes over so that it becomes difficult to live their normal life. The eating disorder often also has a major impact on the lives of those around them and their relatives.”
Eating disorders arise through an interaction between hereditary vulnerability and environmental factors.
“My hope is that our research will help us understand more about why some people are affected and that this knowledge will help us prevent more people from becoming ill,” says Ramklint. “Healthcare also needs to improve treatment of these patients so that those affected get healthier faster. One way we believe we can contribute to this is through the national, highly specialised care that will start later this year. Uppsala University Hospital is one of the clinics to be commissioned for this in Sweden.”
Enhance knowledge and process stigma around mental health issues
There is still a major lack of knowledge among the public about how the brain works, both in terms of health and mental health issues. There are also issues linked to stigmatisation and prejudice surrounding mental health.
To counteract this, Uppsala University organises the Märta Nasvel Day together with Uppsala University Hospital each year. The theme this year is "Eating disorders, today's and tomorrow's care".
“On Märta Nasvell Day, we want to provide different perspectives on eating disorders – the perspectives of those affected, of those who provide care and those who research eating disorders,” continues Ramklint. “We will discuss severe persistent eating disorder but also health factors, preventive efforts, current treatment and eating disorders during pregnancy.”
“We believe the day will contribute to greater knowledge, less stigmatisation and hope for new and more effective treatments and the ability to recover from eating disorders,” concludes Mia Ramklint.
Märta Nasvell Day
Märta Nasvell Day is organised every year by Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital. It is a day focusing on the challenges facing psychiatry and understanding, prevention and treatment of mental health issues, as well as opportunities for questions and discussion. This year's theme is: Eating disorders, today's and tomorrow's care, Friday 14 April at the Psychiatry Building of Uppsala University Hospital.
Märta Nasvell Day is dedicated to the nurse and donor Märta Nasvell. She fought her entire life for people with mental health issues to be treated with the same respect as those with physical illnesses.