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Speaking to your doctor about your eating disorder for the first time

Speaking to your doctor


People with eating disorders will often ask whether they have to see a doctor or other health professional if they are to recover. The answer is yes.

It is difficult to get better on your own if you have an eating disorder and very few people manage to do it without professional help. Eating disorders are incredibly complex conditions and if left untreated can further impact on physical and mental health. Your eating disorder can also worsen without treatment.

Going to the doctor can make people nervous or scared and you will understandably have many concerns about what might happen. This may put you off making that appointment. No matter how anxious you might feel about it, you must recognise that going to the doctor is a positive step and one that is crucial if you are to begin recovery from your eating disorder.

If talking to your doctor about the difficult issues you are experiencing is putting you off, you might want to consider writing down your thoughts and feelings. This could be in the form of a letter – or you could write down a list of points you'd like to tell the doctor. Remember the doctor is there to help and will appreciate you might not find it so easy to talk outright about what you are going through and how you feel.

You might also have some questions you might want to ask – write these down as well. Take notes if you think it will help you to remember.

Another suggestion could be to take a friend, family member or partner along to your appointment, especially if you feel this would help you talk more openly about your eating disorder.

You will need to be confident that you're doctor understands you and you can trust them. Ask the doctor what steps they will be making (i.e. referral to specialist services). Remember if you have problems getting a referral or not convinced that your doctor is taking your situation seriously you can ask for a second opinion from another GP at your practice or elsewhere.