Innovation and Improvement

Supporting people with autism experiencing eating disorders

Developing tailored treatment for patients with a diagnosis of Autism and an eating disorder

Anorexia Nervosa is a severe eating disorder that affects women and men. Women with autism are much more likely to develop anorexia than non-autistic women.

While national data estimates around one in five women who develop anorexia nervosa have autism, the National Specialist Eating Disorders Service at Maudsley Hospital found that 35% of the women they see – often women with the most challenging and long-standing eating disorders meet the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Working together with NHS patients, staff from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, will develop accessible and tailored treatment for patients with a diagnosis of autism and an eating disorder, improving clinical outcomes and developing national guidance for NHS practice, as there are currently no guidelines for this patient group.

Watch a short video and animation about the project below. 

"We are delighted to have been offered funding for this project. We hope this funding will change the lives of many service users, carers and clinicians. There are currently no guidelines or recommendations for this patient group, and we are pleased, thanks to the Maudsley Charity funding, to be able to develop treatment to support them."

Professor Kate Tchanturia, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, SLaM and IoPPN

Professor Kate Tchanturia received the Academy of Eating Disorders Leadership Award in Research 2020.

“Professor Kate Tchanturia has consistently positioned herself ahead of the wave in terms of important issues to address in eating disorders including funded research on cognitive remediation therapy, cognitive and emotional processing and developing clinical pathways for males as well as for women with autism spectrum features.” – IoPPN News.

Looking for information and support?

The Maudsley Centre for Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders helps young people to beat their eating disorders. Visit their website for resources and and information for referrals for children and teens who live locally, and are registered to a GP in Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham or Southwark.