How to Become an Eating Disorder Psychiatrist

While unfortunate, a lot of people suffer from eating disorders. Perhaps this is the reason why eating disorder psychiatrists are in such high demand. Disorders such as bulimia or anorexia are among the most common and you will be require to counsel these individuals as well as provide them with potential solutions.

An eating disorder psychiatrist can offer useful insight on the mental status of the patient. They can help them regain normal eating habits as well as ensure that their lives aren’t compromised in other ways. Let’s keep reading to learn more about what it takes to become an eating disorder psychiatrist.

Duties and Responsibilities

In certain cases, eating disorder psychiatrists will work together and collaborate about the problems that patients face. They will offer potential solutions that would help alleviate certain mental conditions. Here are a few more of the duties they will be responsible for:

  • Assess a patient’s mental status and determine the root cause of their issues.
  • Developing treatment plans that will help the patient better deal with their emotional or mental disorder.
  • Assist the patient in avoiding retrogressive thoughts.

An eating disorder psychiatrists can help patients feel better about themselves and help them diet in a much safer manner.

Educational Requirements

In order become an eating disorder psychiatrist, you’ll need to make sure that you following the proper academic path. Aside from having a high school diploma, you’ll need to earn a 4 year degree and then move on to receive a master’s or doctorate’s degree. You can either pursue this degree in clinical psychology or in counseling psychology. Both will work towards becoming an eating disorder psychiatrist.

Upon receiving your bachelor’s degree, you should expect to take many classes in biological studies as this will improve your chances of admission into a master’s program. From there, you would be required to pass something called a “GRE” test. If you are seeking a PhD then you would need to study for a minimum of 5 years.

Biology, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and personality classes are ones that you will be focusing on as they are relevant to your field of work. Each course will revolve around helping you find the underlying problems behind a patient’s mental disorders.

Finally, you’ll need to participate in a supervised internship. This will provide you with sufficient real-world experience to better help patients. Acquiring a license from a state agency will be one of the final steps that you need to take before becoming an eating disorder psychiatrist.


Licensing for becoming an eating disorder psychiatrist will vary from state to state. The IAEDP (“International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals”) is where you can receive your certification but it isn’t generally required in all instances. Instead, you will be required to comply with other state requirements including achieving the proper level of education as well as participating in internships for a minimum of 2 years.

Job Outlook

If you’re interesting in acquiring this position then job prospects do look good for the future. This is mainly due to the fact that weight control issues are among the top behavioral and mental health issues in the country. As a results, these professionals have become an integral part of private healthcare facilities as well as hospitals as the psychological treatment of eating disorders will always be there.

Skills Required

As an eating disorder psychiatrist, you should have good listening skills since you’re going to be spending a lot of time in a one-on-one setting with patients. You should be influential as you will be responsible for discoursing a patient from partaking in habitual negative thinking. An eating disorder psychiatrist should have strong speaking skills as well as have the ability to solve problems creatively.

Patience is also important as you will be expected to work with compromised individuals who require a lot of needs in order to make progress. You should always focus on being firm, parental, and compassionate with all of your patients. Having a good understanding of their emotional and mental boundaries is also important. An eating disorder psychiatrist should be able to think critically about problems and then use deductive reasoning to help solve them.

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