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Doctors fight systemic hurdles in treating eating disorders | InSight+

Only 50% of people with a need for mental health care in Australia receive it. Stock-Asso/Shutterstock.

In this inSight+ article, AFMW members Dr Tahnee Bridson and Dr Skye Kinder talk about the problems with the mental health system, eating disorders and doctor’s mental health – as clinicians and patients.


‘Doctors fight systemic hurdles in treating eating disorders’ [Extract]

Eating disorders sit outside of the normal medical treatment model, making access to treatment and care in Australia very difficult for patients and putting additional pressure on doctors.

Many doctors find it difficult to treat eating disorders, whether they are physicians, general practitioners, paediatricians or psychiaristrists.

We argue that eating disorder conditions don’t fit nicely into a medical model, making treatment and care options very challenging, particularly given the constraints with the health system.

Eating disorders have among the highest mortality and suicide rates of all mental illness (here), yet their relative importance has been neglected by medical research and health care systems until recently.

Indeed, mental health care for potentially serious illnesses remains severely rationed in Australia, shrouding treatment for eating disorders in myth and mystery for many patients and carers alike.

Doctors can also be forgiven for thinking it is a mystery, prompting the question: how many people actually receive good quality care?

Currently, only 50% of people with a need for mental health care receive it and only 15% of this care is of minimally adequate quality (here).

This means that the treatment of potentially serious mental illness is frequently withheld until it can no longer be denied, and that illnesses present with greater chronicity and severity when eventually seen.

With regards to eating disorders, this equates to a loss of over 3.3 million healthy life years, significantly reduced quality of life, an increase in the years lived with a disability, and increased loss of life (here).

How would we respond if cancer treatment was withheld until the cancer was in its late or final stages?

Continue Reading at InSight+


(article / photo credit inSight+ / Stock-Asso/Shutterstock)



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