Pop star Zayn Malik’s new autobiography details his experience of having an eating disorder while he was a member of the band One Direction, according to excerpts published in The Sun. Beat spokesperson Tom Quinn gave a comment to BBC Newsbeat, saying:
“We applaud Zayn for sharing his story. When someone in the public eye talks so bravely about their own personal experiences it helps others to recognise that they are not alone and hopefully encourages them to seek treatment when they previously may have been reluctant to do so. We know guys generally find it harder to recognise their symptoms and acknowledge that they need help and so Zayn’s courage in speaking out is particularly welcome. We know that the earlier someone seeks treatment there is less likelihood of a relapse in future and a far better chance of a full recovery. Anyone worried about themselves or a loved one should contact their GP at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that can affect anyone, regardless of gender or background. They are not about food, and in fact Zayn’s experience may be familiar to many people who have suffered an eating disorder, as the 23-year-old said, “I think it was about control. I didn't feel like I had control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did.”
He also noted that, “It got quite serious, although at the time, I didn’t recognise it for what it was.” Eating disorders can often be hard to spot, and difficulty seeing that there is a problem can be a symptom. If you’re worried about yourself or anyone you know, you can find out more information about eating disorders here.