A brave Warragul teenager has told of her lonely battle with anorexia in a bid to prevent other girls falling victim to the potentially deadly illness.
Georgia Lyons was just 16 when she starved herself for six weeks, shedding more than 30 kilograms in an extreme bout of rapid weight loss.
She was admitted to the Monash Children's Hospital having become dangerously underweight and spent three months recovering from the eating disorder.
In a moving interview with Seven News reporter Karen O'Sullivan, Georgia said: "I was in year 10 and I just hated myself.
"I was always a bigger, chunkier girl and I wanted to be that skinny little girl," she said recalling her dangerous mindset.
Her mother Debbie feared she would lose her little girl, who weighed little more than 40 kilograms at the height of her anorexia.
"Coming home and finding your child blacked out on the floor, we couldn't leave her alone," Debbie explained.
While Georgia was almost starving herself to death, friends complimented her match-stick thin figure.
"There was many a time I felt like saying to someone, 'just shut up, stop telling her how good she looks when she's dying'," Debbie recalled.
Eating disorders are considered as much a psychiatric condition as a medical condition.
Over the past six years, adolescent admissions at Monash Children's Hospital have skyrocketed from 19 in 2006 to 138 this year.
Pediatrician Dr Jacinta Coleman said: "Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality of any psychiatric illness. It's about 12 times that of the general population, twice that of patients with depression and schizophrenia."
But with the help of experts and her family, Georgia battled back from the brink, refusing to allow the illness to beat her.
Now 18, Georgia is a happy and healthy girl, weighing 70 kilograms.
She hopes that by sharing her survival story she will help other teenagers battling their eating disorder demons.
"It's not worth it, you could wake up in the morning and not be here," she said.
Debbie has urged parents to look out for the warning signs of anorexia in their children, which include skipping meals.
The signs to watch out for with anorexia include weight loss, changes in personality and behaviour.
Advice for parents includes eating meals together as a family, look out for bullying, particularly on social media, communicate with your teenagers and help them cope with failure.
"Watch your kids closely with it," Debbie warned. "It takes over very, very quickly."
Georgia now has her sights firmly set on her future.
"I'm going to grow up, be a nurse and have a family. I want to support other girls who are in my position."
Georgia will participate in Run Melbourne 2013 to help raise money for Monash Children's Hospital.The Butterfly Foundation: Support for Australians with eating disorders
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