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Diagnosis of eating disorders

2-minute read

Many people who suffer from eating disorders keep their condition a secret or won’t admit they have a problem. But it’s important to get help early.

The first step is to see a doctor, who can refer you to the services you may need for your recovery. A doctor or mental health professional will make a diagnosis. There is no single test to determine whether someone has an eating disorder, but there is a range of evaluations that lead to a diagnosis.

The tests that may be used include:

  • Physical examinations: Starving yourself can take its toll on the body, so first the doctor may want to make sure you’re physically OK. The doctor is likely to check your height, weight and vital signs (your heart rate, blood pressure, lung function and temperature). They may also check your blood and urine for other health indicators.
  • Psychological evaluations: A doctor or mental health professional may talk to you about your eating and body image. What are your habits, beliefs and behaviours? There are various questionnaires and self-assessments that you may be asked to complete.

Where to get help

Eating disorders are treatable. Visiting a doctor is the first step to recovery.

You can also talk in confidence to an adviser from the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673.

Call Eating Disorders Victoria on 1300 550 236 or (03) 9417 6598 if you are interstate.

Last reviewed: February 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 64 results

Secondary Prevention of Eating Disorders

Secondary prevention interventions aim to lower the severity and duration of an eating disorder through early intervention.

Read more on NEDC - National Eating Disorders Collaboration website

Classifying eating disorders

The information given below is to help you understand the information you may be given if an eating disorder is diagnosed. It is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis. If you think you, or someone you know, may have an eating disorder, it is important to seek medical help and get a professional assessment and diagnosis.

Read more on Eating Disorders Victoria website

Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)

What is EDNOS? A person with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) may present with many of the symptoms of other eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa but will not meet the full criteria for diagnosis of these disorders.

Read more on NEDC - National Eating Disorders Collaboration website

What is an eating disorder? Eating Disorders Explained

About one in 20 Australians has an eating disorder. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses. They are not a lifestyle choice or a diet gone too far

Read more on NEDC - National Eating Disorders Collaboration website

Eating disorders

Eating disorders are a mental illness. The most common types are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and other binge eating disorders. They can affect women and men of all age groups, from a range of backgrounds and cultures. Many people might be living with these disorders without being diagnosed.

Read more on WA Health website

Eating disorders & children | Eating Disorders Victoria

Children as young as five can be affected by an eating disorder and it is important for parents and teachers to be aware of preventative measures and warning signs. Eating disorders are more dangerous in children than in adolescents and adults as they can permanently stunt growth and development.

Read more on Eating Disorders Victoria website

Eating Disorders Explained - EDNOS

A person with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) may present with many of the symptoms of other eating disorders

Read more on NEDC - National Eating Disorders Collaboration website

Other eating disorders

The most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has made several changes to the categorisation of eating disorders. The category that was known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), has been removed, and there are two new categories; Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) and Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED). These new categories are intended to more appropriately recognise and categorise conditions that do not more accurately fit into Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, BED, or the other eating and feeding disorders.

Read more on Eating Disorders Victoria website

Eating disorders, anxiety and depression

Having an eating disorder is neither a lifestyle choice, a ‘diet gone wrong’, nor an attempt to get attention. A person with an eating disorder has a mental health condition.

Read more on beyondblue website

For people with an eating disorder

Perhaps someone has approached you with the suggestion that you may have an eating disorder, or perhaps you suspect it yourself.

Read more on Eating Disorders Victoria website

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