Working with eating disorder (ED) clients (in a helpful way) is very different than how most of us were trained in school.
As a Registered Dietitian, I have worked with hundreds of ED clients throughout the years, and honed my intake questions to figure out what is really going on with someone who uses food as a way to cope.
Let's take a look at some questions you may use outside of anthropometic numbers/ labs/ food frequency.
Here are questions I ask everyone, regardless of ED or not:
I will also ask about mental health, suicidal thoughts/attempts, medications, drug/alcohol use and frequency, any supplements/herbal/alternative medicines used, and more.
Once I am talking with them, some of the questions in our first session may include:
*The following questions may or may not be used based on how I read the person that day, the severity of the disorder, co-morbid issues, or other reasons that you just feel.
Among other questions.
Bottom line, eating disorders are complex mental health issues that manifest behaviorally with food behaviors, and can turn into gnarly medical problems. Treat the person with compassion, understanding, and be a good listener. This will get you more information, and allow you to help them the best you can. Don't rush to conclusions or "fixes." Treat the whole person.
What would you like to learn about working with eating disorders?
Drop me an email, and I'll choose some topics for future blog posts and training :)
~Libby Parker, MS, RD
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5-Question Screening Tool for Eating Disorders
I get it, as medical professionals you are go-go-go! How do you take the time to assess if someone has an eating disorder when they are not presenting?
In 1999, the “SCOFF Questionnaire” was developed to give providers a fast way to assess for Anorexia or Bulimia (false positive rate of only 12.5% for the controls – but maybe they developed one later, there was not commentary on follow up).
Answering “yes” to at least two of the following questions led to a nearly 100% positive diagnosis of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.
Ask your patient(s):
The SCOFF questions*
Although the authors’ state there is need for further testing to increase validity of the SCOFF questions, this questionnaire has been standard in various health care settings for many years.
Get this questionnaire as a PDF that you can take directly into the exam room HERE.
Libby Parker, MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian, author, and is working on her CEDRD credentials.
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Not Your Average Nutritionist, LLC