When you or someone you love has concerns related to having an eating disorder or disordered eating, knowing the next step can be confusing. OEDA has created some helpful suggestions and resources to guide you toward a life in recovery. While no two people who struggle with an eating disorder are the same, we have created some general guidelines to help you find hope and healing.
If you or a loved one need support please contact the NEDA Helpline 1-800-931-2237
Take a Screening
Mental health screenings are a quick way to determine if you or someone you care about may need to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for an evaluation. They are educational, not diagnostic.
Get a Medical Evaluation
It is recommended by the AMA that anyone who thinks they may have an eating disorder obtain a medical evaluation which includes the following:
- Full history and physical examination
- Full lab work and blood panel including
- CMP which includes -Panel with EGFR -Glucose -Urea Nitrogen (BUN) -Creatinine -Sodium -Potassium -Chloride -Carbon Dioxide -Calcium -Protein -Albumin -Globulin -Albumin/Globulin Ratio -Bilirubin Total -Alkaline Phosphatase -AST -ALT
- Urine Analysis and Drug Screen
Contact a Professional
The American Psychiatric Association recommends that the best standard of practice generally involves a treatment team consisting of a psychotherapist (Counselor, Social Worker, Psychologist), a dietitian, and a medical provider.
Most people struggling with an eating disorder start in the outpatient level of care with weekly appointments to a mental health professional trained in the treatment of eating disorders, a dietitian who specializes in eating disorders and a medical professional who can monitor any medical complications related to the disorder. However, others may have too many medical complications or eating disorder behaviors may be so severe that they need a higher level of care. Obtaining an evaluation by a medical professional and mental health professional can help you determine what level of care is appropriate for you.
Levels of Care Available
- Inpatient Hospital Treatment
- Residential Treatment
- Partial Hospitalization Treatment
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment
In order to get started with a physician, counselor and or dietitian all you have to do is reach out and make a first appointment. If you need help finding an outpatient treatment team or an eating disorder treatment program we recommend the following resources:
- OEDA’s Professional Directory
- Psychology Today (You can narrow your search parameters to eating disorders and by insurance carrier)
- The ALLIANCE for Eating Disorders
- Project HEAL
You can also contact your insurance company to find providers in your area who specialize in eating disorders and are in your network.
What if my loved one doesn’t recognize they have a problem?
An eating disorder is a serious disease that can have life threatening consequences. Family and friends are incredibly important in helping detect an eating issue and guiding a person toward proper treatment. Sometimes an individual may not know they have a problem or are in denial that they have a problem and it can be a difficult subject to discuss. Below are some helpful articles and guides to assist family and friends.