How can VCPS help with eating disorders?
It is advisable to engage with a team of health practitioners when recovering from an eating disorder as it can be challenging to do so alone. Eating disorders are complex mental illness issues that when tackled alone, may impact recovery outcomes. Seeking help from a team dedicated to an individuals recovery from an eating disorder is not cause for shame or embarrassment. Instead, it is a signal of strength and courage and the beginnings to a recovery.
Recovery can result in different outcomes for different people. For some, the thoughts may never completely go away, but they can manage how present they are so that the impact on everyday life is minimal. For others, they may never have another eating disorder thought again.
Likewise, recovery timeframes are equally varied with the process for some perhaps taking years and for others, recovery is quicker only taking a matter of months.
There is good evidence that anyone can recover, even if they have been experiencing eating disorders for a long time. It is generally accepted that the sooner treatment is started, the shorter time will be until recovery.
Medicare-funded sessions for Eating Disorders
From November 1st 2019, a new suite of Medicare Benefits became available to support best practice evidence-based care for individuals with anorexia nervosa and other eligible patients with eating disorders.
Eligible individuals can receive a Medicare rebate when eligible providers undertake the development of an Eating Disorder treatment and management plan or a review. The individual, as part of a course of evidence-based eating disorder psychological treatment services may be eligible for up to a total of forty psychological services within twelve months. An additional twenty dietetic services, in twelve months, may also be available depending on treatment needs.
VCPS Treatment Teams
The team structure and treatment approach will change based on the individual’s age and diagnosis. A multi-disciplinary team is engaged in the treatment of eating disorders. The team consists of providers that treat the behavioural, cultural, physical, psychological and social components of the disorder. Teams often consist of:
General Practitioner (GP)
For those with an eating disorder, a GP is usually the first point of call. A GP will assess symptoms and give diagnoses where appropriate. Where a moderate to a severe eating disorder is suspected, GPs will often refer to several other specialist practitioners, such as a psychologist, for further assessment and treatment.
GP’s remain a permanent part of the treatment team because they monitor a person’s overall physical health as well as provide referrals to specialist services as needed. Having a trusted GP with experience in treating eating disorders can make a big difference to a recovery journey.
Psychologists provide psychological therapy to people who are facing eating disorders. As specialists in mental health, they may also provide treatment for a range of other mental health issues.
The psychologist, as part of an eating disorders treatment team, will develop individual treatment plans to address the issues connected to the individuals eating disorder. They can also address other issues such as family problems that may or may not directly related to the eating disorder.
Because Psychiatrists have a medical degree and additional qualifications in psychiatry, they can assess and monitor physical symptoms and prescribe medication.
Depending on individuals diagnosis, a Psychiatrist may join the team at the commencement of treatment, or perhaps at a later stage. Usually, this occurs when other Psychological therapies are not proving to be as effective as hoped.
Dietitians provide eating plans, nutritional assessment and nutritional education to individuals with eating disorders identifying fears of food and educate on the consequences of not eating well. They also assist with recognising feelings of physical hunger and fullness and a healthy response to both. Having Dieticians on the team is essential to nutritional rehabilitation as well as the restoration of healthy eating patterns.
Paediatricians are doctors who provide specialist care to infants, children and adolescents. Paediatricians involved in the treatment and care of adolescents and children with eating disorders are either general paediatricians or specialist paediatricians. Specialists may be paediatric cardiologists, gastroenterologists or developmental experts.
How to access the VCPS Eating Disorders Clinic
Book online below or contact the VCPS Intake team to find out further information about the Eating Disorders Clinic or to book in a consultation with one of our practitioners. The VCPS Intake team can be contacted on (03) 9067 8810.Book your appointment