Talking to your doctor
The first health professional you will see is often a General Practitioner (GP) or family doctor. Your doctor will begin by asking a few questions to determine your health condition. They will then provide you with an initial assessment and diagnosis of the type and severity of your eating disorder. Although a dietitian, psychologist or psychiatrist can also provide a diagnosis, it is recommended you visit a GP as they can provide you with options and referrals for further treatment.
Where possible, it’s best to see a GP who has experience and knowledge in the field of eating disorders. The right GP might be your regular doctor or you may need to ask around to find somebody who will provide you with the support you need. If your doctor does not diagnose an eating disorder but you are still aware of warning signs, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion or see a health professional such as a psychologist.
What to expect from your GP consultation
It’s a good idea to know what to expect during your initial or follow-up consultation with your doctor.
- A physical check-up (if you are being weighed, you can ask to face the other way on the scales to avoid seeing the number)
- A diagnosis of the nature of your eating disorder and an explanation of the illness itself, including potential complications
- Guidance on the options available to you from other health professionals and the role they play in assisting recovery
- A referral to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist for more detailed, psychiatric/psychological assessment and treatment
- A referral to a dietician for specialist dietary support and treatment
- Information about other support services
- A discussion of treatment options available to you and a referral to the most suitable service based on your physical and psychological condition.
- For severe cases where body weight is critically low you may be referred to a hospital and/or in-patient treatment facility to restore weight and physical health.
A note for people with an average or above average body weight:
With the current emphasis on the “obesity crisis”, you may find that some doctors are fixated on weight as a measure of health. If your health professional does not seem to understand your eating disorder, or does not treat you with sensitivity and respect, please call our Helpline on 1300 550 236 and we can help you find someone with a particular interest in eating disorders.
- Last revision date: Wednesday, 14 September 2016 11:57