Eating disorder care needs to be collaborative, respectful: psychiatrists

Care for people with eating disorders needs to be recovery-oriented, multi-disciplinary and collaborative, the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists says.

RANZCP President-Elect, Dr Elizabeth Moore, says there also needs to be a sharp increase in specialist services for eating disorders in Australia to ensure those with eating disorders have access to the best possible care.

“Eating disorders are complex and often incredibly distressing for patients and their families,” Dr Moore says.

“Those with an eating disorder and their families deserve to know that when they reach out for care, they’re able to receive the quality care they deserve.

“Eating disorders are prevalent in Australia and there’s no question that ensuring people are receiving world-class, evidence-based care should be a priority.

“Like many things, there’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach to caring for people with an eating disorder, but what is very clear is that we need to focus on providing respectful care, that’s conducted collaboratively with the person with the eating disorder, and where appropriate, their family.

“The best care is multi-disciplinary, with access to medical, dietetic and psychological interventions.

“Evidence-based care provides the best possible chance for recovery and providing the help people need.”

Dr Elizabeth Moore said ensuring care is provided in the least restrictive setting is also shown to be beneficial in achieving positive outcomes.

“Where possible, treatment should be offered in the least restrictive setting and best suited to the individual’s needs and preferences. In most instances, this will be as an outpatient or day patient.

“That means consulting deeply with the person with the eating disorder and fostering a strong therapeutic relationship based on dignity and choice.”

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The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit

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