From Iceland — Eating Disorders Affect One In Ten Women In Iceland

Eating Disorders Affect One In Ten Women In Iceland

Published May 28, 2021

Brittnee Kiner
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More than one in ten women have been diagnosed with an eating disorder in Iceland, reports RÚV. However, the waiting list is long for patients hoping to be seen at Landspítali’s psychiatric ward or BUGL, with over one hundred waiting for assistance.

An unwavering illness

Eating disorders are a common and serious mental illness and are characterized by a variety of dietary disorders. Patients suffering from such an illness can feel it is unbearable, with the discussion of its pervasiveness nearly non-existent. Additionally, mortality among those that are diagnosed with an eating disorder is among the highest of mental illnesses.

More than ten percent of women and five percent of men are dealing with an eating disorder, making it more common among women, with mixed eating disorders being the most common. While open discussion of the issue has broadened over the years, it can still be difficult to feel supported. The waiting time to be received at Landspítalinn is one and a half to almost two years, with priority given according to severity.

Spreading the burden

Upon discovering the long waiting time, some decide to standby while others have to navigate assistance for the illness on their own. “As things stand today, 96 people are waiting for services here on the adult side of the eating disorder team and fifteen teenagers are waiting on BUGL,” says Heiða Rut Guðmundsdóttir, the manager of LSH’s eating disorder team. Heiða believes that further involvement of health care and increased subsidies for specialists would help in spreading the burden beyond Landspítalinn.

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