Information for the public

Getting help for an eating disorder

Getting help for an eating disorder

It can be difficult to talk to someone about your eating problems, but your GP or practice nurse can give you advice and support and tell you about the next steps towards getting treatment. Sometimes, a healthcare professional you see might ask you some questions if they think you are having eating problems.

Your GP will ask you some questions about your eating habits. They should find out how much you already know about eating disorders and explain anything you're not sure about. They will check your overall health, including your weight. They may look for some of the signs below to see if you could have an eating disorder.

Signs that you may have an eating disorder

Eating and behaviour

  • You are very worried or spend a lot of time worrying about your weight and shape.

  • You have made sudden major changes to your diet (such as cutting out particular kinds of food altogether).

  • You are dieting or limiting your food in a way that worries you or those around you.

  • Your friends or family have noticed changes in your eating habits.

  • You are avoiding social situations that involve food (such as eating meals with your family or going to a restaurant).

  • You have very strict habits or routines around food (such as recording everything you eat or weighing yourself every day).

  • You have been making yourself vomit after meals.

  • You are exercising too much.

  • There has been a change in your mood (for example, you feel more irritable or anxious than normal).

Physical signs

  • You have symptoms of starvation, like feeling cold or dizzy, fainting or having problems with your circulation.

  • You have stomach or digestive problems with no obvious cause.

  • You have problems with your teeth – some people with an eating disorder make themselves vomit regularly to get rid of the food they eat, and this can damage the teeth.

  • Your weight may be very high or very low – for adults, your BMI (body mass index) is used to check if you are a healthy weight.

  • If you're under 18: your weight and height are lower than expected for your age.

  • If you're a girl or woman: your periods aren't regular or they stop altogether.