Many of you may have watched and heard actress Tracey Shaw;

who spoke on TV about her agonising experience with anorexia or eating disorder - and more importantly how she got over it.

We also saw how young girls of school age are affected by the body image of perfect beauty projected by very thin models in fashion magazines.

Amy Davis, the model who has changed the trend to be accepted as a "not so thin" model, will hopefully set a precedent and we shall see a more balanced view of beauty in the fashion world. The core element which causes eating disorders is low self-esteem.

We often forget that the vast majority of people live normal lives despite some fluctuations in their self-esteem and self- confidence. Why are some people affected so deeply? Often an individual may latch on to a denigrating remark made by friends at school, or by parents or family, about being fat or ugly even when they are not.

More serious causes may include bullying, rape, and harassment at work, or relationship problems.The world out there appears to be cruel and thoughtless. Zoe spoke to me of her experience of dealing with victims, who suffered from anorexia, at the rape crisis centre in Middlesbrough.The underlying issue was damaged self-esteem and loss of control.

She herself experienced an eating disorder and low self-esteem when she gained weight after being prescribed steroids. The holistic principle underlying the cure from this condition must include a revival of the spiritual strength. Identifying one's self with one's true spiritual self, which is not tarnished by external factors, I feel is the key to this problem. A lot of support, compassion and tender loving care helps to heal the wounds.

Rational emotive behaviour therapy is vital in order to dispel false beliefs about one's self and the world. We do not have control over the world, but do have the power to control how we respond to it.

Building self-confidence with creative activity helps. Education into understanding how the body works also helps to reassure the victim. Massage therapy helps comfort the victim. Herbs like ashwagandha, valerian, passiflora and gotu kola, and herb teas like lemon balm, can provide a useful back-up for the mind.

Write to Tracey Shaw Foundation, PO Box 656, Manchester M60 3WB for more help.