Tool to help heal eating disorders

11-07-2018 by admin

USEFUL: Bendigo GP Dr Christina Sasse says the new web-based tool is good for identifying warning signs of eating disorders.A new tool has been launched inthe hope it willbreak down the barrierspeople in regional areas face whenseeking treatment for eating disorders.

Feed Your Instinctis a web-based tooltargeted at families of people aged 10 to 20 years old, whichcontains a questionnaire parents or carerscan fill out about warning signs their child is exhibiting.

They can then take the results to their GP to determine acourse of action.

The Feed Your Instinct tool also provides GPs with best practice guidelines in testing, diagnosing and treating eating disorders, going some way to negatinganylack of experience or expertisein the field.

Bendigo GP Dr Christina Sasse saidspecialised services for eating disorder patients werelacking in all regional areas.

Dr Sasse, who also worked with youthmental health service headspace, saidpeople with eating disorders in regional areas faced difficultiesfinding clinicians and psychologists who were experienced in treating eating disorders.

Long waiting lists and the costof accessing such specialists werealsobarriers, she said.

Locallypeople under the age of 18 with an eating disorder can be treated through the child and adolescent mental health service, while adults have access to an eating disorder service.

Feed Your Instinct aims to empower families to take action early in the course of the illness.

“The general challenge for everyone is recognising it, and recognising it early,” Dr Sasse said.

She said the earlier an eating disorder was diagnosed andtreated, the better the outcome.

The Feed Your Instinct website also contains information, resources and other online tools.

“It’s really well set-out and does highlight common warning signs,”DrSasse said.

The tool is part of Operation EAT (Early Action and Treatment), an initiative recently launched by the Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders.

Operation EATalso includes a pilot training program for “whole of community” care and the release of the results of a survey of affected families.

Dr Sasse said the warning signs of an eating disorder were many and varied, but common signs included limiting the variety of foods eaten, eating to strict food rules, talking about weight, moodiness, irritability around meal times, anxiety, physical pains and complaints, and an increase in exercise.

For help or support with an eating disorder or body image issue, call the Eating Disorder Victoriahelpline on 1300 550 236 or the Butterfly Foundationhelpline on 1800 334 673.

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