A woman who suffers from anorexia is calling for more support to be given to adults with the condition.
Hairdresser Amii Adams, 31, was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa — described by the NHS as a serious mental health condition — when she was at high school.
The Carnoustie mother-of-two told the Tele of the “nightmare” condition that has plagued half her life.
Amii’s weight has dropped to just six stone, with a dangerously low body mass index (BMI) of only 14.
She is now calling for more to be done to help adults who suffer from anorexia.
“For me, it was self-punishment. It was like I wanted to get thinner and thinner, but it was never enough,” she said.
“Now, it’s more like my mind is telling me that I don’t deserve to eat.
“I have a busy lifestyle, so it’s easy to just ignore the hunger.
“It doesn’t go away, but you can ignore it, or just drink a coffee or something.
“It is a nightmare — the condition has given me bad anxiety.
“I feel like I am in a room full of people, screaming for help, but no one can hear me.
“A lot of people don’t understand how bad it is.
“It’s so bad that sometimes I don’t even want to be here anymore.
“If it were not for my kids, I would have given up. I wouldn’t be pushing so hard to try to beat it.”
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder where a sufferer keeps their body weight as low as possible.
They usually do this by restricting the amount of food they eat, making themselves vomit and exercising excessively.
Amii has spent time in facilities in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, along with various NHS Tayside establishments.
However, she believes that most treatment is centred towards younger sufferers and that more needs to be done to help adults.
She said: “I just don’t think that you are treated as an adult by mental health services when you are suffering from anorexia.
“Adults suffer from it too, but I don’t think people are aware of this.
“You see a lot of campaigns about mental health, but never about adults suffering from eating disorders.
“I was in hospital in Edinburgh and when I got out I didn’t feel like I was any better, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I got myself a private psychiatrist and spent a whole year attempting to balance everything on my own.
“Then I relapsed and started to lose weight and ended up back in hospital. It has been a rollercoaster the whole time — I have been in hospital for as long as six months.
“As an adult, there’s a lot of pressure, because you have so many responsibilities — and we need more help.”
Amii said her hope is that someone will one day be able to cure her.
She added: “My ultimate goal is to find someone who can make this go away. That is what I hope will happen in the future.
“I love my kids and I do not want to leave them alone because of this.”
‘One size doesn’t fit all’ in treatment
AMii has battled anorexia since she was at school and has been treated at all the major institutions around the country.
She believes that the Priory Hospital in Glasgow offers the best care.
She said: “I think that all the services around the country should be more like the Priory.
“The issue is that unless you are referred there you will need to spend thousands on the treatment, which most people can’t afford.
“The way you are treated in there is a case by case basis.
“I feel like they understand that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to anorexia.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “As part of the wider NHS Tayside psychological therapies service, NHS Tayside eating disorders service provides specialist, multidisciplinary, outpatient assessment and treatment to adults aged 18 to 64 suffering from clinical eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
“Patients aged below 18 and above 64 are managed within the child and adolescent mental health and older people’s services respectively.
“Where a patient’s eating disorder is acutely life-threatening, such that they cannot be safely managed in an outpatient setting, referral will be made to the specialist 10-bed Eden Unit in Aberdeen, which NHS Tayside has access to as part of the NHS’s North of Scotland managed clinical network for eating disorders.
“Should a bed not be available at the Eden Unit, referral will be made to a specialist provider establishment in the private sector such as the Priory Hospital in Glasgow.”