Information for the public

Information and support

Eating disorders can happen to anyone, and if you have one you should get the support and treatment you need. Healthcare professionals should explain to you, and your family or carers, what eating disorders are, how they can affect you, and about different treatments. They should help you understand all the treatment options, including pros and cons, so that you can decide what is best for you. When they talk to you and your family they should:

  • talk in a way that you can understand

  • be sensitive and supportive when discussing how you feel about your body shape and weight

  • explain any medical terms

  • check that you understand the information

  • encourage you to ask questions.

Sharing information with other professionals

Anything you say to a professional is confidential, but sometimes information needs to be shared with other professionals involved in your care so that they know what you need. Your doctor should explain who needs to see information about you, and why.

Support for children and young people

When you talk to a healthcare professional about your eating problems they might ask if there is anything else worrying you. They should also ask how things are going at home, and at school, college or work. This will help them understand more about your life and what other support you need.

Involving your family and friends

It can make a huge difference to have support and encouragement from your family, friends and teachers during your recovery. Your doctor and other professionals should encourage them to support you if you would find it helpful.

If you prefer, you can choose not to have your family or carers involved in your care. They should still be given their own support while you are having care and treatment, and there is more about the help they can expect in supporting parents, family members and carers.

If you are under 16

If you are under 16, a parent or carer usually needs to agree ('give consent') to treatment on your behalf. If you are worried about this, talk to your doctor. They may be happy for you to give your own consent if it is clear that you can understand and make decisions about your own care.