I offer early intervention and eating disorder dietary assessment when a young person’s health is at risk due to food restriction and sustained weight loss.
Alongside the standard dietary assessment, nutritional provision of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals, an ED assessment asks a range of other questions:
- how severely and for how long the food restriction has been happening
- the extent of the weight loss over time, calcuation of % Body Mass Index
- the age and ability of the young person to recognise the risk to their health
- other behaviours such as purging, binge-eating, excessive exercise, self harm
Assessment of essential body functions eg. body temperature regulation, wound healing, hair growth, menstruation. Following periods of severe dietary restriction, the body can shut down some less important functions in order to preserve vital organ functioning. Those may also be seen in physical symptoms eg. loss of periods, reduced bowel habits, body pain, bruising, hair loss.
A physical examination by the GP is essential and includes blood pressure, blood testing, aspects of mental health and physical examination.
Eating disorders are the result of patterns of thinking and beliefs, in which over-evaluation of appearance is central, resulting in changes of behaviour around eating. They pose significant risks to physical health and are serious mental health conditions. Psychological support is essential, and working with these behaviour change takes time, support and commitment.
I have recognised specialised advanced dietetic training in Eating Disorders, an offer an early intervention assessment, to help access additional services. I will also offer dietary treatment for those young people who are stable and motivated to work towards recovery.