Tuesday 12 December 2017

In this day and age there is no reason for any GP NOT to recognise the signs of an eating disorder

From having spoken to other families, it seems that it's a case of 'luck of the draw' as to whether you see a GP that understands eating disorders or a GP that doesn't. This report from the Independent newspaper backs up this assumption.

When I took my son to be diagnosed back in Autumn 2009, the GP didn't recognise the signs of an eating disorder. While putting together my book Anorexia came to visit - Families talk about how an eating disorder invaded their lives, I did my own research about GPs and eating disorders. Our local GP said she "probably had two lectures" on mental health and eating disorders as a medical student. Another medical student specialising in psychiatry was surprised to learn that males get eating disorders. And a representative from the RCGP told me that: "Currently only around 50-per-cent of doctors-in-training for general practice have an opportunity to undertake specialist-led mental health or in child health training placements".

GPs are often the first point of contact for someone with an eating disorder and in this day and age there is no excuse whatsoever for anyone to "slip through the net" as a result of a GP not recognising the signs of an eating disorder.

Today there is so much information around about the latest evidence, advances, discoveries and research into eating disorders that there simply is NO REASON ON THIS PLANET why GPs, and indeed any medical professional who may come into contact with eating disorders, shouldn't know the facts.

Yesterday I posted a link to a podcast where neuroscientist, Dr Erin Parks of the UC San Diego Eating Disorder Center talks about "the range of eating disorders... as well as their neurobiological, genetic, and psychological roots". She talks about the typical "personality traits [that] are associated with such disorders, and how science has shed light on the development and treatment of various conditions on the eating disorder spectrum. [She also addresses] some of the myths surrounding eating disorders and what science has to say about them."

Basically this 47-minute podcast is a fantastic way for anyone to fast-track themselves through the eating disorder learning curve. I guarantee that anyone listening to it will know more at the end of those 47 minutes than they did at the start.

Let's face it, these 47 minutes could save lives...

The great thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them when you're in the car, in the bath, preparing a meal or waiting for a train. This podcast is just 47 minutes long, yet I believe it could be the most important 47 minutes that any GP could spend because, with eating disorders on the rise, the chances are that they are going to come across someone with an eating disorder at some point.

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