The Connection Between Disabilities and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are often overlooked when considering the health and well-being of a person with a disability. However, this is a serious issue that should be considered when providing care to someone with a disability. Understanding what an eating disorder is and what causes them can help you provide the best care for your loved one. 

What is an Eating Disorder? 


There are several types of eating disorders. Most people only think of anorexia or binge eating when it comes to types of eating disorders. While these are the most common, there are other types of eating disorders that should be considered. 


Some people may find that they get full very quickly and, therefore, cannot consume enough calories to remain healthy. Others may have a problem stopping when they begin eating, even if they are physically full, which can cause serious health issues.  


Other eating disorders that must be considered are those that concern digestion. Some people may stop eating because they are having trouble digesting certain types of foods or are suffering from food allergies. Sadly, their disability may prevent them from discovering that it is a digestion issue that is causing them to feel pain and be uncomfortable after they eat, so they simply stop eating. 


Causes of Eating Disorders 


Eating disorders can be caused by several reasons. For people with disabilities, one of the most common reasons for an eating disorder to occur is due to a sense of control. A person who is managing a disability often feels a loss of control over their body. Restricting what they eat or binge eating can give them a sense of control. Anorexia can be a severe problem for people with disabilities. 


Some people with spectrum disabilities may also find it hard to eat certain foods due to the colour, texture, or the way they are prepared, such as being served hot or cold. It is essential that care providers understand these aversions and make sure that enough nutrition is being provided to their loved one. 


A final cause for eating disorders is reactions to food. If someone is gluten intolerant or dairy intolerant and do not realize it, they can quickly build an aversion to food because it makes them feel sickly. Digestion issues must be considered as a possibility for a food aversion. 


How You Can Help 


If you believe that your loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, it is vital to seek medical help. Your medical care provider can help establish if an eating disorder exists and if it is emotionally or physically based. Once you can figure out what is causing the problem, you will be able to treat the problem. 


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More information

Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process

In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.

Who is eligible for VAT relief?

You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:

VAT Relief on our Disability Aids

All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.

How VAT relief works

If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

More information from HMRC

You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.

The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).