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Eating disorders

Who can help with eating disorders?

Most services that care for people with eating disorders bring together a team of health-care professionals that includes doctors (such as psychiatrists), clinical dietitians and psychologists.

Ideally, each team member will have special knowledge, skills and experience in eating disorders.

Each has a different kind of expertise, and together they can help you work through your treatment plan to get well.

Treatment and care of Indigenous people with eating disorders should be culturally informed. If you are Māori or Aboriginal and/or a Torres Strait Islander, consider asking your health-care team to work with a cultural advisor or Indigenous health worker (e.g. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health worker or Māori health worker).

Psychiatrists: their role in treating eating disorders

Many people who are treated for eating disorders will see a psychiatrist during their treatment.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are experts in mental health. To become a psychiatrist in Australia or New Zealand, a doctor must train for at least another 6 years after finishing medical school. Psychiatrists often lead a health care team.

Some psychiatrists completely specialise in the care of people with eating disorders.

Because they are doctors, they can prescribe medication, develop treatment plans and monitor physical health. They can also provide psychological treatment.

More about psychiatrists

Questions to ask about your health-care team and your treatment

  • How many patients with eating disorders have you treated?
  • Do you have any special training in the treatment of eating disorders?
  • What is your basic approach to treatment?
  • Can we review progress regularly and, if necessary, revise our treatment plan?
  • If you provide only one type of treatment, how do I get different treatment if I need it?
  • Can I speak to someone who has been through treatment with you?
  • How frequent are treatment sessions? How long does each session last?
  • What are your fees? Will my health insurance cover these fees?
Page last reviewed Aug 2015 | C1037V1

This is a general guide only, and does not replace individual medical advice. Please speak to your doctor for advice about your situation. The RANZCP is not liable for any consequences arising from relying on this information. Subject matter experts, people with lived experience of mental illness and carers all contributed to this fact sheet.