A team approach to eating disorder treatment
The importance of a team approach to eating disorder treatment
Eating disorders are complex and multifaceted conditions which include physical, psychological and nutritional concerns. Research has shown that early identification and treatment of eating disorders helps increase the speed of recovery. Studies also indicate that a multidisciplinary team approach- that is, a team made up of different healthcare professionals- is most effective when treating eating disorders. This is because each clinician has unique skills and areas of expertise to address different facets of the eating disorder. Eating disorder treatment works best when all team members, including the individual client, are collaborating together to deliver the best care possible.
General practitioners (GPs) are often people’s first touch point when they’re worried about their own or a loved one’s eating. If you have a GP you trust, they can be a great person to voice your concerns to. Not all GPs have formal training in recognising and managing eating disorders, but they should be able to refer you on to people with more expertise if need be. GPs also play a vital role in medical monitoring- the regular checking of your bloodwork and vital signs to ensure safety through treatment. For children and teenagers experiencing eating concerns, a paediatrician can take on this role of medical management.
Mental health professionals play a key role in the treatment of eating disorders. Psychologists work with you to help assess and treat eating disorders. There expertise involves addressing the mental and emotional aspects of an eating disorder, as well as assisting with other psychological concerns that you may have. Psychiatrists specialise in assessing clients for a diagnosis, helping to develop treatment plans for the disorder and are able to prescribe medication if necessary.
Accredited Practising Dietitians, like the team here at Welcome to Wellbeing, have expertise in the nutrition rehabilitation of eating disorders. We work alongside you to learn more about food and your relationship to it, and develop a plan to support recovery. We can help develop and support strategies to reduce eating disorder behaviours, as well as help you to debunk nutrition myths and silence the food police. As we’re often the first healthcare professionals people talk to in-depth about their eating habits, we can also screen and inform clients who might not be aware of the disordered nature of their eating concerns. At our practice, we specialise in the Non-Diet Approach which promotes an intuitive eating style, which is a long-term goal for many clients once they’ve progressed with their recovery. We can also provide Medical Nutrition Therapy for clients experiencing concurrent medical conditions.
This post provides an overview of some of the key team members for most people’s eating disorder treatment. In some cases, other health professionals including social workers, nurses and occupational therapists can also be involved.
No matter what your situation, the goal is for your healthcare team to provide the most appropriate and effective care possible. If you would like one of our lovely dietitians to be a part of your treatment team, feel free to reach out.