How long does it take to access ED treatment?


Welcome back for the third instalment of our five-part blog series providing you with insights into new research and data coming out of the University of Otago from the EDGI NZ team at this year’s International Conference on Eating Disorders (ICED).

Time Taken to Reach Treatment in New Zealand: A National Study

Rachel Lawson, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Head of the South Island Eating Disorders Service for the Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch, presented a paper on behalf of the Costs of Eating Disorders in New Zealand study investigators which examines the time taken to secure treatment for those with anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED) and other eating disorders (ED) in a New Zealand sample.

According to early study findings, it took more than a year for half of the sample of 444 respondents to seek help, with those with BN and BED taking significantly longer to seek help than those with AN or other EDs. Once help was sought however, half the sample was diagnosed with an ED within a week. GPs referred most participants to an ED specialist. Half the specialist referrals were wait-listed, with most seen within six weeks.

Whilst this study compares favourably to overseas studies that have reported lengthy delays, there is apparent room for improvement in the time delay associated with seeking help and gaining access to immediate care after being referred to an ED specialist in NZ.

To help the EDGI team to identify the hundreds of genes that influence a person’s risk of developing anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, visit the EDGI homepage to volunteer.

Should you suspect that you, or a loved one, may be living with an eating disorder, speak to your local healthcare practitioner without delay, or head to to complete their screener and assessment, and to access more information and professional support.

Australian professional patient support services offering 24/7 helpline services include:

o     Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

o     LifeLine: 13 11 14

o     Men’s Line Australia: 1300 78 99 78

o     Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800. 



Extra support required by those living with eating disorders during COVID-19

Extra support required by those living with eating disorders during COVID-19

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