College Surgery Partnership

Tel: 01884 831300

Opening Times: 8.30am-6.30pm

Culm Valley Integrated Centre For Health, Willand Rd, Cullompton, Devon, EX15 1FE

Bulimia

Diagnosing bulimia

If you have an eating disorder such as bulimia, the first step is to recognise that you have a problem and visit your GP. You may think it is not serious, but bulimia can damage your long-term health.

Accepting that you need help and support is the first step to recovery, but this may be a very difficult step for you to take. Most people who have bulimia hide their situation for months or years before seeking help. It can often take a change of situation, such as the start of a new relationship or living with new people, to make a person with bulimia want to seek help.

It may help to make a list of questions you want to ask before you see your GP. Once you have explained your situation to your GP, they will decide whether to refer you to a specialist mental health team.

Your local team will include:

  • specialist counsellors
  • psychiatrists
  • psychologists
  • nurses
  • dietitians
  • other healthcare professionals

Your treatment depends on how serious your condition is and the best way to manage it. Your GP may recommend a self-help programme to start your recovery before referring you for specialist treatment.

You can make a full recovery from bulimia. The earlier you start treatment, the quicker the recovery process will be.

Do I have an eating disorder?

Doctors sometimes use a questionnaire called the SCOFF questionnaire to help recognise people who may have an eating disorder. This involves answering the following five questions:

  • Scoff: Do you ever make yourself vomit because you feel uncomfortably full?
  • Control: Do you worry you have lost control over how much you eat?
  • One stone: Have you recently lost more than one stone (six kilograms) in a three-month period?
  • Fat: Do you believe yourself to be fat when others say you are too thin?
  • Food: Would you say that food dominates your life?

If you answer “yes” to two or more of these questions, you may have an eating disorder.