If you are concerned that you or someone you care about is experiencing an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder, it’s important to make an appointment with a medical practitioner. For most people this will be a GP, but it also includes paediatricians and psychiatrists.
How to prepare for your appointment
- It’s important to see your regular GP who knows you, or a GP that you are comfortable with. If you don’t have a regular GP, look for a GP that has ‘mental health’ as one of their treating specialties.
- To ensure there is adequate time to cover the assessment and referral process, it is advisable that you ask for a double appointment when you book and mention that you are wanting an Eating Disorder Plan (EDP).
When you’ve made an appointment, it’s a good idea to start getting prepared for your appointment so you don’t feel put on the spot. It might be helpful to write down any symptoms or behaviours you’ve been experiencing, as well as any questions you might want to ask the doctor.
For anyone over the age of 18:
- Complete the checklist on the Reach Out and Recover Checklist (ROAR) and print the report to take with you to your GP appointment. The ROAR Checklist outlines some behaviour, thoughts and feeling changes you may have noticed in yourself and is particularly helpful if you find it difficult to talk about your concerns. The reports will be more accurate and give you best value for your help seeking journey if you answer all of the questions. But if you feel uncomfortable, you can leave some questions and perhaps come back to them later.
- And complete the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) provided on the Inside Out website and print the report to take with you. The EDE-Q is a global assessment tool that is used for eating disorders. You don’t need to worry about interpreting the results of your EDE-Q, that’s up to your doctor. A completed EDE-Q is required as part of the assessment process for an Eating Disorder Plan.
For parents/carers of children under the age of 18:
- If you are a parent or carer concerned about a loved one, another useful tool is the Feed Your Instinct (FYI) website. Feed Your Instinct (FYI) is an interactive tool designed to support parents of children and young people experiencing different types of eating and/or body image problems. A checklist is available for parents that outlines changes you may have noticed in your child. Once complete, the website will generate a personalized report with a summary of the information you have provided that you can take with you to the GP.