Getting an Eating Disorder Diagnosis

Getting a clear confirmation of an eating disorder can make all the difference

As mentioned in What is an eating disorder, seeking expert diagnosis is highly recommended.

Behaviours such as dieting, weight fluctuation, and expressing anxiety may be considered part of becoming an adolescent, an individual’s personality, going through menopause, or dieting to be ‘healthy’.

However if you are concerned it is not normal behaviour seek a professional opinion.

Early intervention gives more options and offers faster recovery. Once you have a diagnosis, a professional support team and a treatment plan can be formed.

The stages of change are not always linear, it is common for individuals with an eating disorder to move back and forth between stages. As a carer it is important to not get discouraged as it often does not mean they have gone backwards in their recovery journey

The first step to seeking diagnosis is to discuss your concerns with the person you think may have an eating disorder.

It is not uncommon for the person to deny they have a problem. Shame, denial and secrecy are common characteristics of eating disorders. By reading How to Start a Conversation you now have the key ‘tools’ to discuss the possibility of seeking a professional diagnosis.

Once the person is open to seeking a diagnosis, it can be helpful to offer some suggestions of who might be worth making an appointment with.

Although eating disorders is estimated to affect approximately 9% of the Australian population (NEDC, 2013 ), eating disorders are not included as a significant part of training for most health professionals. This includes General Practitioners (GPs).

It may be worth considering contacting an eating disorder organisation for a list of experienced GPs. Below is a list of reliable organisations that can help you find your local GP.

Eating Disorders Queensland (EDQ) can help you locate a practitioner in your area. When you do locate your local GP, take this user friendly resource with you.

Queensland Eating Disorder Service (QuEDS) 

Child and Youth Mental Health Service – Eating Disorders Team (CYMHS EDT)       

Mental Health Access Line 

National Hotlines

Emergency, police and Ambulance 


Butterfly National Helpline  

Suicide Call Back Services

Kids Helpline

Your first step to diagnosis is usually going to a GP.

The person you suspect may have an eating disorder may want to go alone to the appointment. This is their right. However, it is ideal if you could be there with them to continue to give support and be another pair of ears.

Some GPs are confident to diagnose an eating disorder but many times they will refer you onto a specialist service (EDOS) or a psychiatrist or psychologist.


An overview of the process

This flow path gives the many options people have followed to get to treatment for an eating disorder.

At times carer feel like they are getting the run around or not taken seriously, and unfortunately at times this can be true.

Take a step back review these pathways and to find different options.

Download the full document here

Check out our other downloadable PDF’s

Eating Disorder Treatment Options Continuum

Potential Eating Disorder Assessment Tool


Feed Your Instinct

Are you concerned your child may be developing an unhealthy relationship with food, weight or their body?

Visit FYI Here

Eating and body image checklist

A very useful tool for assessing your loved one’s symptoms.

Visit website here

Official ED Diagnostic Features 

The official diagnostic features of an eating disorder falls under an international assessment system called DSM-5.


Reach Out

If you need help, reach out.

If you need assistance, or are interested in any eating disorder services, get in touch.
We can help with more information, referrals and/or arrange an assessment appointment.

Call us on (07) 3844 6055 | email us here

You can also contact us through Eating Disorders Queensland

Eating Disorders Queensland 89 Sherwood Road, Toowong Qld 4066