How low in weight do u have to be to be admitted to hospital

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I've been diagnosed anorexic for two years now and I did manage to go to 43kg and stabilise for three weeks but am loosing even more weight currently 41.5 kg has anybody got any experience with hospital suasion as I'm worried I will be admitted any afvice would be appreciated

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  • Posted

    Hi - unfortunately specialist eating disorder services are a bit of a postcode lottery so it will depend on several things.

    Firstly, they will look at your other physical issues such as bloods and ECG

    There are also other mental illnesses which are taken into consideration when looking at admission.

    If the person has a history of an eating disorder and has struggled several times to manage in an outpatient setting.

    Furthermore they look at other vulnerabilities such as socioeconomic status which might impact on a person's recovery outside an intensive setting.

    These are guidance from NHS England (2013) and there is a LOT of criticism as they don't account for early intervention nor do they really reflect the fact that eating disorders are first and foremost MENTAL illnesses and second physical.

    I am highlighting this because I was told I wasn't ill enough to get treatment for my eating disorder at a time when mentally and physically I was very poorly. My condition deteriorated rapidly and I ended up in A and E with malnutrition. I have since had extensive private therapy (but I appreciate that is not an option for everyone).

    A friend of mine has been on a 6 month section in a relatively "nice" NHS unit. She has very little freedom and has found it isolating.

    I can't tell you to eat and to avoid hospitalisation. You need to work through this yourself with the support of people you trust around you.

    Hospital is not ideal in any stretch of the imagination and I think it makes things harder when you have to manage independently.

    In direct answer to your question, in some parts of the country depending on bed availability and your bloods you may be admitted. In others you may not. You should not see this as a case of not being ill enough. This is the ridiculous system we live in where mental illness is under resourced and under funded. If we were to do this via BMIs. I know of people with higher BMIs who have died from complications arising from their illness and people at lower who have been able to persevere actively in life. Everyone's bodies are different, which is why the aforementioned criteria is silly.

    To coin my favourite analogy, we don't segregate broken arms by only allowing treatment on people with multiple breaks. We treat everyone with a broken bone. The brain is an organ so mental illness should be treated in the same way as bones, lungs, heart and so on.

    It's very hard but try to focus on proactive ways to help yourself. I find DBT (there are apps you can download about this) really helpful in finding coping strategies. E.g. I feel bloated. I am going to use a distraction behaviour like watch a TV show or phone friend. I am going to persevere with this feeling by engaging in mindfulness and it will get easier.

    Also taking small steps with eating. Think about what small goals can be introduced week by week.

    Stay positive.

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  • Posted

    Hi my advice is to seek any help or support you can get in the community. I have a BMI of 15 and have been in hospital 4 times in the last 2 years once to an ED unit. I wouldnt wish that on anyone the ED unit was very  restricting and very hard to cope with. The regime around food was very structured as the whole point of such unit is to put on weight, i found this mentally tough i didnt see family as im from North Wales and the unit was in England, icame out having gone from 37kg to 43 but i hated how it made me feel. Im still struggling and recieving Psychological therapy, its a serious mental health condition with lack of undrestanding. I think im so stuck in mt anorexia as ive had it since i was 18 and now 50 so the younger you are the recovery is hopefully easier. Please talk to your doctor family friend and seek help to avoid hospital. please stay strong and fight it take care
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  • Posted

    Hi Loulou

    My daughter was recently sectioned and we gathered from the tribunal that a BMI of below 13.5 is considered an automatic requirement to inpatient treatment ie they can justify the section 2.  She was a little above this and exceptionally we managed to have the section removed but she has remained as a voluntary inpatient and has benefitted from the structure - not having to make any decisions about eating at mealtime. She is so much happier with so much more energy and looks forward to getting on with her life, uni etc without wasting so much time thinking about food.  Very best wishes to you Loulou with this really hard condition, remember you deserve to get better and have a real life again, but you will struggle to believe that while you are in starvation mode, read about the Minnesota experiment.

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    • Posted

      Hi Caz. I'm sorry to hear about your daughter and I'm really glad she's doing better.

      I do have to disagree with your information. I think your experience is reflective if your area. It isn't a national policy. It can't be.

      The reason is because there are not enough inpatient beds for CAMHS eating disorder patients and certainly not in AMHS. Increasingly beds are closing due to funding. I visited somewhere recently where due to staff shortages TWO beds had closed.

      So in answer to the forum question what's the lowest weight I have to be. It's demand and supply as I mentioned in my previous post.

      Your daughter is both lucky and unlucky. On another occasion there may have been no bed availability and she may have been forced onto section but admitted miles away from home to an inpatient unit. She may also have been deemed not critical enough due to lack of bed availability and another patient prioritised ahead of her. E.g. patient with BMI of 12.

      On another occasion or in another postcode there may be a low rate of anorexia nervosa and therefore admissions are for a BMI of 15. In this area they have capacity to accept out of area admissions.

      I say this because I know the NHS England criteria inside out due to my campaign work but also because I know from personal experience that if I'm told to reach a certain weight I'll aim for that. In anorexic terms being sectioned is almost seen as an achievement when you are so poorly.

      You don't think through the negative consequences attached to it or the months of no freedom or choice.

      So to reiterate my point. There is no worst BMI. It's a situational decision based on availability and the mental and physical state. Don't play this dangerous game with your health.

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