Paediatric Eating Disorder Assessments

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There is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to spotting eating disorders in children. The signs and symptoms can present themselves differently from child to child; however, as a parent or carer, if you have concerns it is crucial to reach out to specialist help. Often eating disorders come with additional symptoms that affect the child mentally, these are on top of physical weight fluctuations. 

Our paediatric eating disorder service can see children aged 12 and over if their BMI is 15 or more. Each child will be assessed for the appropriateness to engage in our service and if they are not suitable this will be advised after the first appointment. 

Younger children may be able to be seen, but they will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Please email our team with your enquiry and we will check with one of our specialist dieticians. 

Are You Worried About Your Child?


If you suspect your child is suffering from an eating disorder, it is crucial to consider the following steps:

  • Carefully observe and document their eating behaviours and any unusual comments about food or body image.
  • Approach the issue with care and empathy when communicating with them.
  • Educate yourself about eating disorders to gain a better understanding of the situation.
  • Create a supportive and open environment for the child to freely express their feelings.
  • Refrain from making negative comments about their appearance.
  • Be a role model by showcasing healthy eating habits yourself.

But, most importantly, seek the guidance of a healthcare professional experienced in treating eating disorders. 

Our Paediatric Eating Disorder Assessments

At our clinic, we believe in a holistic approach to healthcare for children. We offer a single-location service designed to reduce stress and enhance the well-being of our young patients. We have assembled a team of dietitians and therapists who are at the top of their game to provide the highest quality in-house care. As part of our assessment package, every aspect of your child's treatment plan will be conducted right here at our Birmingham clinic. This means no need to travel between different facilities for scans and assessments, making the process more convenient and efficient.

It's important to note that eating disorders can have serious physical and psychological consequences and can be life-threatening. If you suspect your child to be exhibiting signs of an eating disorder, it's crucial to seek professional help from a medical or mental health provider specialising in eating disorders. Early intervention and treatment can significantly improve the chances of recovery and overall well-being.

The Signs of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions characterised by unhealthy relationships with food, body image, and weight. There are several different types of eating disorders, each with its own set of signs and symptoms.

Here are the signs and symptoms of some of the most common eating disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa

  • Severe restriction of food intake leads to significant weight loss
  • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even if underweight
  • Distorted body image, perceiving oneself as overweight even when emaciated
  • Obsessive preoccupation with food, calories, and dieting
  • Avoiding meals or eating very small portions
  • Exercising excessively
  • Physical signs such as brittle nails, thinning hair, and dry skin
  • Social withdrawal and denial of the seriousness of the condition

Bulimia Nervosa

  • Repeated episodes of binge eating, during which large amounts of food are consumed in a short period
  • Compensatory behaviours to "purge" the calories, such as self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or laxative/diuretic use
  • A sense of loss of control during binge-eating episodes
  • Frequent fluctuations in body weight
  • Dental issues, like tooth decay and enamel erosion, due to vomiting
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Frequent bathroom visits after meals

Binge Eating Disorder

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating without purging behaviours
  • Eating quickly and to the point of discomfort
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, or distress following binge episodes
  • Lack of control during binge eating
  • Often eating alone to hide the behaviour
  • Emotional eating is a way to cope with stress, boredom, or negative emotions
  • Rapid weight gain and obesity-related health issues are common

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)

  • Symptoms of an eating disorder that do not fit the criteria for anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder
  • Examples include atypical anorexia (weight not significantly low), purging disorder (purging without bingeing), or night eating syndrome (eating at night and not during the day)

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

  • Extremely selective about the types of food they eat
  • Limited food preferences, often avoiding entire food groups
  • Fear or discomfort with specific textures, tastes, or smells
  • Nutritional deficiencies and inadequate calorie intake
  • Anxiety or avoidance of eating in social situations

Our Paediatric Eating Disorder Assessment Program

When you choose our private eating disorder assessment, we follow a structured process to create a customised treatment plan that helps your child overcome their disorder.

Step 1: Initial Evaluation

We begin with an initial consultation with our specialised team of dieticians, therapists and GPs to understand your child's condition and diagnose the disorder.

Step 2: Dietitian Assessment

A comprehensive 1-hour assessment with our expert eating disorder dietitian, Arti Dhokia, is scheduled to evaluate your child's eating habits.

Step 3: Re-Feeding Plan

We collaboratively develop a re-feeding pathway to address the effects of the disorder. This plan also outlines the number of follow-up appointments within your tailored treatment package.

Step 4: Therapy Screening

Your child will undergo a therapy screening with either Hema Patel or Raj Bassi, depending on their age. Given that eating disorders involve mental health aspects, our recovery plans include both therapy and physical treatments.

Step 5: Medical Assessments

Blood tests and personal measurements are conducted to identify any underlying conditions that may impact your child's habits and health.

Step 6: Multidisciplinary Team Evaluation

Our multidisciplinary team reviews all the collected data to create a tailored package.

Step 7: Customised Treatment Package

We provide a personalised package that outlines the number of required appointments with our therapists, dietitians, and GPs.

Step 8: Commence Treatment

Once you are satisfied with the plan, we initiate the personalised package, setting your child on the path to a healthier and freer lifestyle.

Conditions We Screen For

We are able to carry out assessments for a range of eating disorders, including but not limited to:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
  • Binge-Eating Disorder
  • Pica
  • Rumination Disorder
  • Selective Eating Disorder (SED)

Prices

Child Eating Disorder Assessment Package

£695

The above package includes the following: - 1-hour Specialist Eating Disorder Dietitian Appointment  - A GP appointment  - Baseline blood tests to assess your child’s health  - An ECG  - 1-hour assessment appointment with therapist

Our Specialist Team

Your child’s consultations will be carried out by our highly qualified team of professionals.

Arti Dhokia, Dietitian

Arti is a dedicated dietitian specialising in eating disorders, with a remarkable track record of over fifteen years in both NHS and prominent private hospitals in Birmingham. Her extensive knowledge has been featured in numerous publications and media outlets, including The Guardian, Men's Health, BBC 1 Newsbeat, and the Asian Network.

Arti's expertise spans various areas, from helping patients develop healthy relationships with food to addressing concerns like diabetes, cardiovascular health, weight management, and gastrointestinal issues such as IBS. Moreover, she extends her compassionate care to patients' families, fostering effective support networks.

As an advanced dietitian, Arti possesses the unique capability to diagnose and treat Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). This relatively recent diagnosis, characterised by patterns of restrictive and avoidant eating, necessitates the attention of a specialist. Learn more about our private ARFID treatment options.

Hema Patel, Integrative Therapy Specialist

Hema specialises in therapeutic techniques tailored to children and adolescents, equipping them with the tools to overcome obstacles that may be impeding their well-being. These challenges can encompass low self-esteem, negative body image, eating disorders, health-related anxieties, and more.

Integral to her approach is the use of talking therapy, which has yielded proven success in allowing individuals to discuss complex emotions with an independent professional rather than a parent or guardian. In some cases, Hema may involve the patient's parents or guardians in the sessions to help them better understand their child's difficulties and contribute to a more manageable treatment plan.

Raj Bassi, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Expert

Raj takes great pride in her role as a CBT therapist, dedicated to helping patients identify and enhance their existing skills. She empowers them with new problem-solving strategies and strengthens their coping mechanisms to navigate life's challenges effectively. Like her patients, Raj remains committed to continuous self-improvement, constantly refining her techniques to provide the highest level of care.

With a diverse training background spanning Birmingham, London, and Liverpool, Raj collaborates with children and adults to guide them through various mental health challenges, including eating disorders like bulimia, as well as issues related to self-esteem and more.

Trust Midland Health 

Eating disorders can develop into significant health challenges. This is why it's essential to seek the guidance and expertise of an experienced team as early as possible. Instead of enduring extended waits to see a specialist, you can secure an appointment within a matter of days and around your child’s schedule.

Our strength lies in promptly delivering comprehensive treatments to our patients. This is precisely why our Birmingham clinic offers:

  • Exceptional patient care
  • Swift access to consultations with specialists
  • No waiting lists or the need for GP referrals
  • Access to cutting-edge medical facilities

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Visit Our Paediatric Eating Disorder Clinic

If you live in Birmingham or the nearby areas, our exceptional clinic is conveniently situated in the heart of Edgbaston, just a stone's throw away from Birmingham City Centre. You have the option to arrange an appointment with our specialists at our facility located on Highfield Road, close to the A456. Alternatively, if you're relying on public transportation, our clinic is easily reachable with a short 15-minute walk from Five Ways train station.

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FAQ

The most prevalent eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

To address an eating disorder, it's advisable to consult a specialist, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, who can offer a personalised treatment plan. Private healthcare may provide faster access to these services.

Your healthcare provider will typically conduct an assessment, which may include physical and psychological evaluations, to determine the severity and nature of your eating disorder. They will then develop a tailored treatment plan, which may involve therapy, nutrition counselling, and medication if necessary.

Qualified professionals, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, and specialist dietitians, possess the qualifications to diagnose eating disorders in the UK private healthcare system.

Common indicators of an eating disorder include drastic changes in weight, obsession with food and body image, secretive eating habits, and physical symptoms like dizziness or fatigue.

There are no specific weight requirements for diagnosing anorexia, as other factors like behaviour and psychological distress are also considered in the diagnostic process. However, consideration will be given to the child’s BMI.

Hospitalisation for anorexia may be necessary when there is a severe risk to physical or mental health, such as dangerously low body weight, severe malnutrition, or suicidal ideation.

Eating disorders can affect individuals of all age groups, but they often begin in adolescence or early adulthood.

You can seek assistance from a team of healthcare professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, dietitians, and support groups, to help your child cope with and recover from an eating disorder.

The duration of recovery from an eating disorder varies for each individual. It may take several months to years, depending on the type and severity of the disorder, as well as the effectiveness of treatment.

The underlying causes of eating disorders are complex and can include genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Trauma, societal pressures, and a history of dieting can contribute to their development.

Yes, it is possible to have an eating disorder without being underweight. Conditions like bulimia and atypical anorexia can manifest with normal or higher body weights. The focus is on disordered eating behaviours and psychological distress rather than weight alone.

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