Anorexic woman eating 200 calories a day told by doctor she wasn’t thin enough for help

A young woman, only 18, was told she was not thin enough for help to cure her eating disorder.

On hearing the news she couldn’t be helped her weight plummeted to a potentially lethal 5st 10lb, before she was able to get help.


Lorna Beattie, was studying at St Andrew’s University, and living on only 200 calories a day, not much more than a piece of fruit and exercising for hours a day.

She knew she had a problem and went to her GP for help as she was very worried about her health and if she even had a future.

At the time her doctor didn’t think she was thin enough for treatment, which led to her eating even less.


Eventually when she was under 6st she was placed into a psychiatric ward and the teenager celebrated her 19th birthday on the general psychiatric ward. Luckily, she battled the illness and was luckily able to pull herself around and start to put weight back on.

Beattie says: “If the doctor had helped back then I wouldn’t have been through the pain I have been through, and it would have cost the NHS a lot less as I took up a hospital bed for almost half a year.


“My mum had encouraged me to go to the doctor as she could see that I was really ill.

“When I finally went for help it was such a big deal.

“My BMI was 18.1, which is the higher end of underweight, and the GP just said there was not much he could do to help me.

“The GP said ‘imagine you’re at the top of a hill; we can’t stop you rolling down, but we can help you get back up’.

I was a ‘failed anorexic’, so I lost more weight until I felt like I was ‘successful’ enough.” It was only then that she was placed in the psychiatric ward.


Now Lorna is a healthy weight and is studying at the University of Glasgow.

Wendy Lees, Blackfriars Medical practice manager, where Lorna was a patient at the time, said: “We are not allowed to comment on individual cases due to confidentiality.”

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