For crisis support call Lifeline on 13 11 14, MH Call 1300 642 255 or in an emergency call 000


Eating disorders

General practice

Services delivered within a general practice setting, including a person's usual GP and practice nurse

What is it?

A general practitioner (GP) is a doctor who provides general healthcare for all physical and mental health concerns.

A GP will typically be your first point of contact with the healthcare system to access support for an eating disorder.

When you seek help from a GP, they can:

  • provide information and advice about eating disorders and your treatment options
  • undertake physical and mental health assessments to inform an eating disorder treatment plan
  • make referrals into other services such as allied health or medical specialists to support your recovery from an eating disorder.

What can someone expect?

A standard appointment with a GP will typically take 10–15 minutes and a longer appointment can be approximately 25 minutes. To discuss an eating disorder with your GP, it is recommended you request a longer appointment to allow enough time for discussion.

Your GP appointment is an opportunity to discuss any symptoms or concerns you have.

Your GP will ask you about your physical and mental health, and they might use an assessment tool such as the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire [EDE-Q] to gather important information about your thoughts, feelings and eating behaviours.

There are also diagnostic criteria your GP may ask you questions about—a diagnosis is not essential for treatment but it can be helpful for some people.

Your GP will discuss the most suitable treatment options for your needs. This may include medical specialists (e.g. psychiatrists), mental health professionals (e.g. psychologists), allied health professionals (e.g. dietitians) or other types of support.

While not all GPs will have experience or specialised skills in working with eating disorders, they can discuss options with you.

It can help to print out any helpful information you find online and take it to the GP. If you have taken any online measurements such as the Reach Out and Recover online tool, take that too. Sometimes it can be easier for your GP to read what has been happening for you, rather than you having to verbally share it. You can also write a list of notes or questions, or take someone with you if you’re worried you will not be able to say or ask everything you would like to.

This assessment tool, developed by Eating Disorders Queensland, explains what your GP might ask you and observe during an appointment.

Some people worry that if they speak to their GP about their eating disorder, they will be sent to hospital immediately. This will not happen unless your physical or mental health indicates that you are immediately at risk and hospitalisation is required. Similarly, your GP will not tell your family or other health professionals, although it is likely that they will encourage you to work your way towards doing so over time, to help with recovery.

Who is this for?

A GP can provide support if you’re seeking help for the first time and concerned you may have an eating disorder, or if you’re seeking recovery for an eating disorder.

How can someone access it?

Schedule an appointment with your usual GP.

If you don’t have a regular GP or your existing GP is not trained in eating disorders, you can search for one using one of the following online databases of trained health professionals:

You can find a GP near you using the National Health Services Directory.

    My Mental Health

    We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia, their diversity, histories and knowledge and their continuing connections to land, waterways and culture. We pay our respect to all Australian Indigenous Peoples and their cultures, and to Elders of past, present and future generations.

    Brisbane North PHN wishes to acknowledge the experience and expertise of the My Mental Health Steering Committee, delegates of the Peer Participation in Mental Health Services (PPIMS) network and health professionals in developing the My Mental Health Website.

    Operated by Brisbane North PHN Website by NWO