As eating disorders typically start in adolescence, eating disorder psychiatry can involve working with children and adolescents or with adults.
Many eating disorder patients have other psychological difficulties or disorders such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder or personality disorders. Physical complications and disabilities are common.
Eating disorders psychiatrists need to safely assess and manage medical risk and so need skills in physical medicine as well as an ability to work with different psychological models and therapies (individual and family). It’s a hugely varied and impactful career.
Working with young people and their families who can all have a different view of their situation can be an interesting challenge.
Work in eating disorders requires knowledge and skills in very varied areas (e.g. child and adolescent development, nutritional medicine and the neurobiology of hunger, and different psychological treatment models).
You will never be bored and always be learning. You’ll work with acute medical & psychiatric emergencies but also with people with long-term impairments and disabilities to keep them safe, prevent decline and support their quality of life.