Screening for Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are among the most common psychiatric disorders in young women. Early detection and treatment improves prognosis, but presentation is often cryptic—for example, via physical symptoms in primary care. Ability to diagnose the condition varies and can be inadequate, and existing questionnaires for detection are lengthy and may require specialist interpretation. No simple, memorable screening instruments are available for non-specialists. In alcohol misuse the CAGE questionnaire has proved popular with clinicians because of its simplicity.
5 Ask for Picky eaters
- Do you make yourself Sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
- Do you worry you have lost Control over how much you eat?
- Have you recently lost more than One stone in a 3 month period?
- Do you believe yourself to be Fat when others say you are too thin?
- Would you say that Food dominates your life?
One point for every “yes”; a score of ≥2 indicates a likely case of anorexia nervosa or bulimia
Ask About History:
- History of weight fluctuations; low weight/high weight, desired weight
- Actions taken to maintain, control, or alter weight
- Laxatives, enemas, diuretics, appetite suppressants, supplements
- Excessive exercise
- Periods of binge eating or feeling a lack of control over food intake
- Comfort with current weight/shape
- Report of typical daily food and water intake
- Exercise habits (how much? how often? why?)
- Menstrual history
- Family history of eating disorders, depression, obesity, and chemical dependence
Consider Eating Disorders for Patients with:
- Chronic constipation
- Elevated creatinine
- Metabolic disturbance
- Elevated amylase
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