Talking to Your Doctor About Eating Disorders
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
- How serious are my symptoms?
- How much weight do you think I should gain?
- Have I damaged my body in any way?
- Do I need a physical exam? Should I have any tests to assess potential physical problems related to my eating disorder?
- Where can I get more information about eating disorders?
- What health complications do I need to be concerned about?
- Can I reverse any damage that has been done as the result of my eating disorder?
- Will my periods return?
- What treatments are available for eating disorders?
Are there medicines that can help me? If so:
- How long will they take to work?
- What benefits can I expect?
- What side effects should I be aware of?
- Have you helped other people with eating disorders? If not, can you refer me to another doctor who has?
- Can you refer me to a counselor who treats people with eating disorders?
- Where can I find a support group or an eating disorders treatment program?
- Can you refer me to a dietitian who specializes in eating disorders and who can help me develop a healthful eating plan?
- How much training and experience do you have treating eating disorders?
- What is your basic approach to treatment?
- How long do I need treatment?
- How long and how frequent are the treatment sessions?
- What type of health insurance is accepted?
- Do you have special fee schedules and sliding scale fees to accommodate various financial circumstances?
What lifestyle changes can help me manage my eating disorder? What can I do about:
- Diet and eating habits
- How else can I change my patterns so that I don't go back to disordered eating behaviors?
- What are my chances of recovery?
- What can I do to prevent a relapse?
- Will I be able to become pregnant?
Cachelin FM, Rebeck R, et al. Barriers to treatment for eating disorders among ethnically diverse women. Int J Eat Disord. 2001;30:269-278.
General information. National Eating Disorders Association website. Available at: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/general-information . Accessed July 11, 2013.
Questions to ask when considering treatment options. National Eating Disorders Association website. Available at: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/questions-ask-when-considering-treatment-options . Accessed July 11, 2013.
Seeking and securing treatment. National Eating Disorders Association website. Available at: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/seeking-and-securing-treatment . Accessed July 11, 2013.
Yager J, Devlin MJ, et al. Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Eating Disorders. 3rd ed. American Psychiatric Association; 2006. Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=9318 Accessed July 11, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/20/2015 -