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HealthInfo Canterbury

Getting help with an eating disorder

Many people with eating disorders feel embarrassed, ashamed or guilty. They've often tried, unsuccessfully, to treat their disorder so believe nothing will work. This can stop them from getting help.

Treatment for anorexia involves first reversing the starvation, which must include careful, monitored weight gain, as well as treating the psychological issues. But many people with anorexia are very frightened of having to gain weight.

Eating disorders are treatable, but specialist treatment such as cognitive behavioural therapy, is essential. The longer someone has an eating disorder (particularly anorexia), the more ingrained their thinking and behaviour becomes, so it's best to get treatment as early as possible. Few people with eating disorders get better without specialist treatment (although sometimes it does happen)

It's good to be assessed by a health professional such as your GP. Your GP will have helped other people with eating disorders and everything you discuss will be confidential.


If this is an emergency, go to your hospital's Emergency Department, or contact your local mental health crisis team:

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by the South Island Eating Disorders Service, Canterbury DHB. Updated December 2017.

In this section

Binge-eating disorder group

Eating awareness information sessions

Health professionals who can help for an eating disorder

Page reference: 75494

Review key: HIEDI-73561