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Beware a 'Rule Out' Approach

Consider an eating disorder before making in-depth medical investigations

A ‘rule-out’ approach can cause misdiagnoses, delays in access to treatment and can further exacerbate and entrench the eating disorder.

A 'rule-out' approach is when an extensive series of medical tests and investigations are conducted to rule out all possible medical causes of symptomology before considering an eating disorder. For example exploring irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies or intolerances, or an ethical desire to become vegetarian/vegan.

The longer an ED goes untreated, the more likely its effects will reduce the possibility of a full recovery

It is common for health professionals to look for any other possible cause for the individual's symptoms, other than a possible eating disorder.  

Common misdiagnoses include irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies or intolerances or an ethical desire to become vegetarian/vegan. 

Unfortunately, the interventions for these diagnoses can perpetuate and exacerbate the underlying eating problem. 

This may mean the eating disorder becomes more entrenched and impacts on the individual’s prognosis and outcome. It may also mean that the person will become more resistant to intervention.