If you are concerned that you or someone you care about is experiencing an eating disorder, it is important to make an appointment with a health professional as soon as possible. Early intervention is the most effective action for long-term recovery.
The first health professional you will likely see is a General Practitioner (GP). A GP will be able to provide an initial assessment and may provide you with a diagnosis regarding the type of 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.
Choosing which GP to see
Selecting the appropriate GP for your appointment is essential. You may feel comfortable seeing your family GP in the first instance. However, it is advisable to find a GP who is experienced in treating eating disorders.
Many people are surprised to find that not all GPs are skilled in identifying and treating eating disorders. We hear from too many people who have had their concerns minimized or dismissed when they have seen a doctor.
Do your research before making an appointment. Alternatively, EDV’s Hub team can do the research for you and provide a list of GPs in your local area who are suitable.
Planning your appointment
Once you have found a suitable GP, the next step is planning your appointment. It is advisable to book a double appointment for your first consultation to ensure there is adequate time to cover the assessment and referral process.
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.
A useful tool in preparing to see the doctor this is the Reach Out and Recover Checklist (ROAR). The ROAR Checklist outlines some behaviour, thoughts and feeling changes you may have noticed in yourself. Once the checklist is completed, 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.
For parents / carers
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.