POSITION STATEMENT – JULY 19, 2010

F.E.A.S.T. believes professionals treating eating disorder patients have an ethical responsibility to fully inform patients, and the parents of minor and dependent adults, of the array and effectiveness of treatment options they recommend and offer.

Specifically, F.E.A.S.T. advocates that treatment providers disclose the following information:

  • Evidence-based treatment methods* for treating the patient’s condition.
  • Other treatment approaches this clinician offers
  • Which methods the therapist plans to use, and what training they have received in this approach
  • How the family will be involved in care
  • An explanation of the research that supports the approaches being offered
  • The anticipated course of treatment and prognosis
  • If the clinician does not provide the evidence-based treatment recommended for the patient, referrals to local clinicians or clinics that do.
  • Scientifically informed, practical resources (e.g., books, articles, websites) on the patient’s condition and the planned treatment method.

It is F.E.A.S.T.’s belief that full disclosure results in better informed and empowered families of patients of all ages. Further, it is FEAST’s belief that many more patients and their families would pursue evidence-based treatments if given information and opportunities to do so. In this way, this kind of early information sharing has the potential to save lives and prevent recently diagnosed eating disorder patients from becoming the chronic patients of the future. In addition, evidence-based treatments have the potential to be briefer and more cost-effective than other approaches. In this way, patients and their families may be able to avoid the considerable medical, occupational, financial, and social hardships associated with eating disorders.

Due to the many clinical fields that treat eating disorders, it is important that each practitioner refer to the legal and ethical requirements for their specialty and jurisdiction.

*Treatments for which research has been conducted to test effectiveness and compared to other treatments.

NOTE: F.E.A.S.T. extends gratitude to Dr. Sarah Ravin who served as advisor for and wrote the original draft of this F.E.A.S.T. initiative.