National Eating Disorders Association

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How long does it take to get diagnosed?

Hi, so my mom is making me start talking to a therapist about my eating/depression. I have all the symptoms/requirements of anorexia except my weight is "normal" so I think if I was diagnosed it would be with ednos. I was just wondering, for anyone who has been diagnosed with ednos, how long did it take for you to be diagnosed? and were you diagnosed by a primary doctor or a therapist? like what was the process? I'm so scared...

Timely Diagnosis


That's great that you are seeking support! That's a great way to get things started. I have been diagnosed with ednos, so I know how frustrating and scary it is. My advice is to see a specialist who knows eating disorders very well. Have you called the Helpline yet? They can help you find a specialist in your area. Have you contacted a Navigator? They can also help you find resources.

How have you been doing since you've started seeking support? I know that the process can be really triggering. Some physicians are not aware of the diagnostic criteria, so try not to focus too much on your weight. An eating disorder is way more than that. So that's why seeing a specialist is crucial.

I talked to someone today who

I talked to someone today who sent me a list of specialists in my area and I contacted one of them. She specializes in eating disorders, anxiety, and depression so its sounds like a good fit. I just don't understand what is going to happen when I talk to her, how will she go about diagnosing me, or not diagnosing me? like what is the process?


That's great that you were able to talk to someone! Hopefully the specialist is not too far away from you.

As far as how you will be diagnosed, please note that I am not a professional, so it probably won't look exactly like this. One of the main ways that eating disorders are diagnosed is through a self-reported measure known as the Eating Disorder Inventory. Here is an article from the NIH talking about the latest version:

You will probably complete this questionnaire or a similar one when you see the specialist. It is really straight forward and not very triggering at all. It asks basic questions involving behaviors, frequency of behaviors, body image, etc. Your specialist will then interpret your questionnaire and make a diagnosis.

Hopefully this helps? If I may ask, do you have any fears associated with being diagnosed? I know that it is sometimes hard for me to look beyond me being "labeled". One of the things that has helped me is to push harder towards recovery. None of us want to be "an eating disorder" we want to be who we are without ed. What I am trying to say is that a diagnosis is not an embodiment of who we are. Indeed, it sometimes helps us see that we are NOT ed. How do you feel about it?


I'm definitely scared that people will look at me differently, even if they don't mean to. or feel like they have to walk on eggshells around me. I'm scared of going into college without control of my ed. I'm scared of looking weak or having people think im just trying to get attention. im scared of not being able to go back. i'm scared of gaining weight. so scared of gaining weight and being even fatter. i have a lot of fears.

Knowledge and Fear

Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee how people will react if you do receive a diagnosis of an eating disorder. That's the sad truth for our illness: too many people just don't know enough about it, so they automatically say/do things that they don't really mean to do. But, we can do something to help ourselves and others with ed's. We can educate ourselves regarding the illness, and then we can share this information with friends and family members to help bridge that gap of uncertainty.

I definitely commend you for getting help on your own. For me, I had to be hospitalized before I realized how serious things were. With adequate counseling and planning, you will be successful at college and you will be able to have control. Those who know hardship will see that you are so much stronger than a lot of other people.

I understand that you have a lot of fears. Most fears are there because we don't have answers to things. Again, I feel that knowledge is the tool. I cannot stress enough that eating disorders are a biological disease. Here is a well known article. I know that it is about anorexia, but the concept has been shown for any eating disorder:

Here's a slightly less scientific discussion on the subject. It is from a blog about eating disorders:

***Note: The last link is from a treatment facility. Through this post NEDA is not endorsing any facility.***