David Baddiel discusses daughter’s teenage battle with anorexia for the first time

David Baddiel discusses daughter's teenage battle with anorexia for the first time 2
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David Baddiel has discussed his daughter Dolly’s battle with anorexia for the first time.

Appearing in BBC documentary, David Baddiel: Social Media, Anger And Us, the presenter, 57, explores the impact social media has on society, with his beloved daughter detailing how the platforms impacted her recovery.

Dolly, now 20, said: ‘In 2017, when I was 15, I was very, very sick for about three years with anorexia. I think social media made it much more difficult to recover’ with David adding: ‘I was pained. I could tell it was causing you pain.’

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Candid: David Baddiel has discussed his daughter Dolly's battle with anorexia for the first time (pictured 2016)

Candid: David Baddiel has discussed his daughter Dolly’s battle with anorexia for the first time (pictured 2016)

Dolly said looking at content online held her back in her recovery, saying on the documentary, which airs on Monday  ‘We weren’t allowed phones in hospital, but when I’d come out I’d struggle a lot and look at all this eating disorder content online and become all-consumed with the journeys of strangers.’

David said he was unaware of Dolly’s Instagram activity and said: ‘Dolly would definitely have been better off without it.’

The family had previously kept Dolly’s illness a secret, with David adding: ‘This was Dolly’s thing, not mine, and it was so dangerous while it was going on that I thought, ‘I cannot disturb this in any way that might be counterproductive to her getting better’.’

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Dolly herself admits that social media made it ‘much more difficult’ for her to recover, and said she was an ‘obsessive person’ who had anxiety before developing anorexia.  

TV: Appearing in BBC documentary, David Baddiel: Social Media, Anger And Us, the presenter, 57, explores the impact social media has on society, with his beloved daughter detailing how the platforms impacted her recovery

TV: Appearing in BBC documentary, David Baddiel: Social Media, Anger And Us, the presenter, 57, explores the impact social media has on society, with his beloved daughter detailing how the platforms impacted her recovery

She said: ‘Once I’d found this recovery community on Instagram, that identity of the anorexic was really easy to latch on to.

‘It was an appealing identity because I really didn’t like who I was, which I think is quite common amongst teenagers.’

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David shares Dolly and son Ezra with wife Morwenna Banks. 

The documentary also sees David confronting his own addiction to Twitter – sending more than 65,000 tweets since 2009 –  and how he can sometimes spend five hours a day on on the microblogging site. 

Family Dolly, now 20, said: 'In 2017, when I was 15, I was very, very sick for about three years with anorexia. I think social media made it much more difficult to recover' (pictured in 2017 with mother Morwenna Banks)

Family Dolly, now 20, said: ‘In 2017, when I was 15, I was very, very sick for about three years with anorexia. I think social media made it much more difficult to recover’ (pictured in 2017 with mother Morwenna Banks)

Tweet: In October when his father Colin, who suffers from dementia, was taken to hospital, David tweeted: 'The old b****r may be about to swerve death one more time' (pictured with brother Ivor, left, in 2017)

Tweet: In October when his father Colin, who suffers from dementia, was taken to hospital, David tweeted: ‘The old b****r may be about to swerve death one more time’ (pictured with brother Ivor, left, in 2017)

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He said his desire to also hear the ‘quiet voices’ on Twitter has led to him sharing personal moments, as well as work highlights, on the platform.

In October when his father Colin, who suffers from dementia, was taken to hospital, David tweeted: ‘The old b****r may be about to swerve death one more time.’

He said he wrote the message in a hope that it would come true but also to hear from Twitter users who were not as vocal.    

David Baddiel: Social Media, Anger and Us airs on BBC Two at 9pm on Monday December 13.

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If you have been affected by any of the subjects in the story please call Beat: The UK’s Eating Disorder Charity on 0808 801 0677.

Harrowing: The documentary also sees David confronting his own addiction to Twitter - sending more than 65,000 tweets since 2009 - and how he can sometimes spend five hours a day on on the microblogging site (pictured with TikTok stars The Smithy family)

Harrowing: The documentary also sees David confronting his own addiction to Twitter – sending more than 65,000 tweets since 2009 – and how he can sometimes spend five hours a day on on the microblogging site (pictured with TikTok stars The Smithy family)

WHAT IS ANOREXIA? 

Anorexia is a serious mental illness where a person restricts their food intake, which often causes them to be severely underweight.

Many also exercise excessively.

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Some sufferers may experience periods of bingeing, followed by purging. 

Sufferers often have a distorted view of themselves and think they are larger than they really are.

Untreated, patients can suffer loss of muscle and bone strength, as well as depression, low libido and menstruation ceasing in women.

In severe cases, patients can experience heart problems and organ damage.

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Behavioural signs of anorexia include people saying they have already eaten or will do later, as well as counting calories, missing meals, hiding food and eating slowly.

As well as weight loss, sufferers may experience insomnia, constipation, bloating, feeling cold, hair loss, and swelling of the hands, face and feet.

Treatment focuses on therapy and self-help groups to encourage healthy eating and coping mechanisms.

Source: Beat Eating Disorders

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