Parents need to take care of themselves so they can care for their loved ones suffering with an eating disorder.

Severe and Enduring Eating Disorders

Although some people recover quite quickly from an eating disorder, many experience a long-term eating disorders, known as a Severe and Enduring Eating Disorder (SEED).

Criteria of SEED

While there are no diagnostic criteria for SEED, an. individual would fall into this category if they:
  1. live with an eating disorder for a significant period of time, i.e. longer than expected to recover from the specific eating disorder;
  2. have undergone at least one evidence-based treatment;
  3. experience a disturbance in their everyday life due to their eating disorder; and
  4. feel hopeless in being able to achieve recovery.
Eating Disorder specialist giving support to teenager with eating disorder


If you suspect your loved one has SEED, it is important to encourage them to seek help. The longer an eating disorder goes on, the greater the risk of experiencing chronic health conditions. Therefore, it is important to continue to seek support.

Treatment for SEED may look different to the standard treatment offered for the typical eating disorder; rather than aiming for complete recovery, treatment for SEED may focus on reducing the severity of the eating disorder and improving quality of life.

Your loved one’s treatment team will decide on the best type of treatment, and whether they can be cared for at home or in hospital.

Families and carers can help loved ones recover, so where possible, stay connected with your loved one and their treatment team.

Don’t lose hope – recovery is possible at any stage.

For support in how to help your loved one, join a Carer Support Group.