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
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.
No matter which GP you see, it’s important that you are prepared for your appointment.
Getting prepared for 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. The next step is to prepare for your appointment. We strongly urge you to follow the below steps which will help you feel empowered about your own or your child’s healthcare.
For children under the age of 18:
- Parent or caregiver to complete the checklist on the Feed Your Instinct website and print the report to take with you. 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. The checklist outlines changes you may have noticed in your child. The report will provide instructions to your GP on the appropriate next steps for your child.
For anyone over the age of 18:
- Complete the checklist on the Reach Out and Recover website and print the report to take with you. The report will help you to share what has been happening for you in regard to your eating and body concerns 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 (see below) covered under Medicare.