General practitioners (GPs) are often the first health professional consulted in regard to eating disorders and their varied presentations. Given the prognostic significance of early detection of, and intervention for, such conditions, it is important that GPs feel confident to do so.
The aim of this article was to heighten awareness of the role of early identification and diagnosis of eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, in the primary care setting. The focus will be on their presentations and diagnosis, including changes to the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), with a brief overview of management recommendations and admission criteria.
Eating disorders are complex, potentially life-threatening illnesses with significant medical and psychosocial consequences. Early detection and intervention can significantly contribute to better outcomes, and GPs are ideally placed to effect this.