Helpful terms

A table of helpful Eating Disorder terminologies

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is the restriction of intake relative to requirements resulting in significantly low body weight in context of age, sex & physical health. There is an intense fear of weight gain or becoming fat even if underweight and a disturbance in view of body weight or shape and self evaluation.


Atypical Anorexia Nervosa would be diagnosed if other criteria are met but the individual is not underweight, despite recent weight loss.


Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is recurrent episodes of binge eating characterised by:

  • Eating an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat under similar circumstances in a discrete amount of time. With a sense of lack of control during the eating

And recurrent inappropriate compensatory behaviours, E.G exercising after eating/or to allow eating. The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviours both occur frequently.


Binge Eating Disorder service

Binge Eating Disorder is recurrent episodes of binge eating characterised by:

  • Eating an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat under similar circumstances in a discrete amount of time. With a sense of lack of control during the eating

Plus eating rapidly, eating until uncomfortably full, eating large amounts when not physically hungry, eating alone due to feeling embarrassed about quantity of intake, feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty afterwards.  It involves marked distress without any compensatory behaviours


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help manage your difficulties by challenging the way you think and behave. CBT is based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and behaviours are interconnected.


Disordered Eating

Disordered eating is when an individual’s symptoms does not meet the criteria for an eating disorder. This could include things such as eating or restricting to ease or manage challenging or difficult emotions, or as replacement to self-harming behaviours, comfort eating, reduced appetite due to grief etc.



The duty team consists of a group of clinicians on a rota. They triage all referrals that come into the service and conduct urgent assessments.


Eating Disorder

An eating disorder can be best described as an abnormal pattern of eating behaviour, accompanied by marked worries about food or body size, which may interfere with the person’s usual way of life and often results in noticeable weight loss.


Family Therapy

Family based treatment is a manualised systemic therapy and is the recommended first line of treatment for eating disorders for children and adolescents.

Guided Self-Help

Guided Self-Help involves using self-help materials based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy concepts to learn different techniques to help with your difficulties. This can be delivered in the form of individual sessions or group work.


Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT)

A multi-disciplinary team is a group of various professionals that work together to make decisions about a service user’s care. For example, this could include psychiatrists, psychologists, dieticians, therapists, support workers, occupational therapists and more.


NICE Guidelines

NICE guidelines are evidence-based recommendations for health and care in England. They set out the care and services suitable for most people with a specific condition or need, and people in particular circumstances or settings.



Outreach is working with service user in the community to work towards goals that have been set, such as meal or snack support. Outreach is carried out in an environment that is best suited to the service user and, therefore, could be in the service user’s home or in a public place, such as café.


Other Specified Feeding or eating disorder (OSFED)

According to the DSM-5 criteria, to be diagnosed as having OSFED a person must present with a feeding or eating behaviours that cause clinically significant distress and impairment in areas of functioning, but do not meet the full criteria for any of the other feeding and eating disorders.

Physical health monitoring

Physical health monitoring is an integral part of caring for adults and young people with eating disorders. This could include weight/height measurements, vital signs (such as blood pressure and temperature), blood tests, ECG, and bone density scans. This could also include muscle strength tests.



An act of referring someone or something for consultation, review, or further action.

Routine Outcome Measures (ROMS)

Routine Outcome Measures help the service to monitor patient outcomes on an individual, group, pathway, and service-wide level. They involve completing a pack of short questionnaires.

Single Point of Access

The Single Point of Access in a central point for screening, triaging, and signposting for mental health difficulties.


Specialist Eating Disorder Unit (SEDU)

A SEDU is a specialist inpatient unit for people with a severe eating disorder. People may require admission to the inpatient unit to address the nutritional, psychological and/or physical health aspects of their eating disorder.


A triage is the first stage is assessing a service user’s needs in order to determine the nature of the treatment required, if they are suitable for the service and signposting.