Eating disorders: family is the best medicine

There is a growing body of evidence that anorexia nervosa is a genetic, biologically based illness where starvation plays a strong role in development and maintenance of symptoms. The focus has changed from trying to get to the bottom of what caused the illness to how we help our young people return to normal living.

Families are critical in three stages of the process: help-seeking, treatment and relapse prevention.

Even a single consultation about a child’s eating behaviour or weight/shape concerns is a strong predictor of the presence or potential development of an eating disorder.