Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Eating Disorder Service

Information for professionals

Intervention in CAMHS

  • Assessment

The young person will initially attend with their family for a comprehensive assessment. This includes gaining an understanding of the history and background and undertaking physical and psychological assessment. Immediately following the assessment a care plan is made with the young person and family and the treatment is started.

  • Outpatient treatment

Family-based approach: the core treatment offered in CAMHS is family-based treatment. This is an evidenced based treatment where the family is supported to take responsibility for supporting meals and ensuring that the young person is established on a suitable meal plan. Download FBA leaflet (pdf)

CBT-E for the young person: a specialised form of CBT focussed on recovering from an eating disorder. Download CBT-E leaflet (pdf)

Adolescent-focussed treatment (AFT): an individual therapy based on a formulation of the young person’s needs.

Multi-family therapy: a four-day intensive course for families with one -day follow-up, based on evidence and designed to support families to make changes to assist in recovery.  Download MFT leaflet (pdf)

Parent groups: these are groups for parents of young people with eating disorders and are held monthly. The format is skills-based with opportunity for interaction and discussion.

One-day carers’ workshop: these are held three times a year jointly with adult service and provide a context to share ideas, develop skills and receive support.

  • Higher intensity treatment

Some young people with eating disorders find it very difficult to make the changes needed in order to get better. If a higher intensity of support is needed, the Outreach Service for Children and Adolescents (OSCA) home treatment team or Crisis team may become involved.

The home treatment team can provide intensive and home-based support, for example around mealtimes. Sometimes, this can be a way of avoiding a hospital admission. The need for higher intensity support will always be discussed with the family in advance.

  • Inpatient treatment

If a young person’s physical health is at risk or if their mental health deteriorates and they are not able to access community-based care, it is sometimes necessary to refer a young person to a paediatric ward or an inpatient adolescent facility for a short period of inpatient care either locally or further afield, depending on bed availability.

  • Care Programme Approach

The young person will be treated within a CPA framework. This is a structured approach to care, involving the allocation of a care-coordinator, creating a care plan and having regular reviews. The GP may be invited to join CPA reviews, particularly at the time of discharge. If the GP is unable to attend the review, a clinician from the ED service may approach the GP for an update or to share information.

  • Length of treatment

This will usually depend on the severity and history of the eating disorder. Normally we would expect treatment to last nine months to a year (this may be around 20 sessions, spaced out for the last few months), but may take longer to achieve a full recovery.

Generally, treatment will be more intensive at the start and appointments will become further apart as recovery progresses.

Last updated: 21 May, 2019