What should every doctor know about eating disorders?

Statistics from the National Eating Disorder Association indicate approximately 24 million people suffer from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder in the U.S.

Yet, too many eating disorders are not caught until the illness is entrenched often to the point at which there has already been irreversible physical health damage done, making the illness much more difficult to treat. Studies have repeatedly shown that early intervention leads to better treatment outcomes.

Primary care physicians play a critical role in identifying an eating disorder in a number of ways. Physicians can reduce the potential for an eating disorder by educating patients on nutrition, body image, and risk factors. They can also be the first to identify early warning signs such as changes in weight, vital signs, or other physical complications.

If doctors are able to intervene more promptly and the illness is treated at an earlier stage, it helps alleviate the serious health consequences that accompany prolonged eating disorders; lessens emotional turmoil involved for the entire family; and reduces the financial burden of treatment significantly.

The American Medical Association’s (AMA) latest online course, Screening and Managing Eating Disorders in Primary Practice, a “first-of-its-kind” curriculum, was developed to educate physicians about eating disorders, with the goal of earlier detection and intervention.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with an eating disorder, or you would like to make a treatment referral, please contact Aurora Behavioral Health Services at 877-666-7223 or visit our web site at Aurora Behavioral Health Services

Additional NEDA resources for primary care physicians:

  • WHAT’S UP DOC
    WHATS UP DOC is a helpful guide for physicians. Using this handy acronym you will be sure to cover a wide array of significant topics with you patients.

If you have questions about our services or suspect someone has an eating disorder, please call 414-454-6694 or visit our website. If you would like to schedule an appointment for an assessment, please call 414-773-4312.

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