Health Library

Talking to Your Doctor About Eating Disorders

General Tips for Gathering InformationSpecific Questions to Ask Your DoctorAbout Eating DisordersAbout Your Risk of Developing Other Health ProblemsAbout Treatment OptionsAbout Lifestyle ChangesAbout Outlook

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with eating disorders. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to give more details.
  • Write down your questions so do you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing.
  • Ask for help if you need it. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
  • How serious are my symptoms?
  • How much weight do you think I should gain?
  • Where can I get more information?
  • What health problems should I be worried about?
  • Have I damaged my body in any way? Can I reverse any damage that's been done ?
  • Will my monthly periods return?
  • How are eating disorders treated?
  • Are there medicines that can help me? If so:
    • How long will they take to work?
    • What are the benefits?
    • What are the side effects?
  • Have you helped other people with the same problems? If not, can you refer me to another doctor who has?
  • Can you refer me to a counselor who treats people with eating disorders?
  • Where can I find a support group or an eating disorders treatment program?
  • Can you refer me to a dietitian who can help me plan meals?

If you try counseling, look for counselors who treat people with eating disorders. Be sure that you feel comfortable with the person you choose. Ask the following questions:

  • How much training and experience do you have treating these problems?
  • What is your basic approach?
  • How long do I need to be treated?
  • How long and how often are the sessions?
  • What type of health insurance is accepted?
  • Do you have special payment plans to help pay for your services?
  • What lifestyle changes can help me manage my eating disorder?
    • Eating plan and eating habits
    • Exercise
    • Stress
  • How else can I change so that I do not go back to my old habits?
  • What are my chances of getting better?
  • Will I be able to become pregnant?

References

Anorexia nervosa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anorexia-nervosa . Accessed April 5, 2022.

Binge eating disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/binge-eating-disorder. Accessed April 5, 2022.

Bulimia nervosa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/bulimia-nervosa . Accessed April 5, 2022.

Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed April 5, 2022.

Questions to ask treatment providers. National Eating Disorders Association website. Available at: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/questions-to-ask. Accessed April 5, 2022