Feature Article

Eating disorders: management in general practice

Chris Thornton, Stephen Touyz, C Laird Birmingham



Patients with the more subtle eating disorders, such as the ‘eating disorder not otherwise specified’ group, can be managed in the general practice setting, particularly if the GP has an interest in psychology. Shared care may be appropriate for the more extreme disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Key Points

  • Psychological treatments continue to be the intervention of choice in patients with eating disorders.
  • GPs should be aware of the refeeding syndrome.
  • Many patients with eating disorders can be managed by their GP.
  • More complex cases may need shared care with a specialist clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.
  • There is now considerable research evidence as to the medical management of patients with eating disorders.