Can Dietitians Diagnose Eating Disorders?

Can a Dietitian Diagnose an Eating Disorder?

No, dietitians cannot diagnose eating disorders. Dietitians cannot diagnose any medical condition, as it is outside their scope of practice.

Dietitians Role in Eating Disorders

Registered dietitians (RDs) are often very knowledgeable regarding potential red flags for eating disorders and may refer patients to other healthcare providers to be evaluated for these conditions. 

RDs are also part of the healthcare team that is providing treatment for people with eating disorders. They provide care in the inpatient setting, residential treatments centers as well as outpatient settings. Per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, dietitians are to be included in all phases of eating disorder recovery.

Some dietitians have an additional credential related to eating disorders. In addition to being a registered dietitian nutritionist, abbreviated either RD or RDN, they may also be a certified eating disorder specialist (CEDS). 

The CEDS credential requires significant experience in eating disorder treatment, supervision by an International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals approved supervisor, coursework, as well as continuing education. 

Who Can Diagnose Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are generally diagnosed by psychiatrists, other physician specialties, nurse practitioners, physician assistants or other mental health professionals. This is done using DSM-5 criteria, which stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition. This is the American Psychiatric Association’s reference guide for medical professionals to make diagnoses related to mental health. 


RDN’s Complete Guide to Credentialing and Billing: The Private Payer Market

The Role of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists in Behavioral Health

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Revised 2020 Standards of Practice and Standards of Professional Performance for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (Competent, Proficient, and Expert) in Eating Disorders

Certification Overview

International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals Certification Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions

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