Eating Disorders Diagnosis The SCOFF Questionnaire Screens for Eating Disorders By Susan Cowden, MS Susan Cowden, MS Facebook LinkedIn Susan Cowden is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders. Learn about our editorial process Updated on February 09, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Medically reviewed by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Peerawat Kamklay / Getty Images If you believe that thoughts about food, weight, and appearance may be taking up too much of your time, then you may be experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or other specified feeding and eating disorder. When you have an eating disorder, it's important to seek help as fast as possible, since treatment helps most when you get it quickly. While the following questionnaire, known as the SCOFF questionnaire, is not meant to act as a substitute for a professional diagnosis, it can be extremely helpful in identifying people who are very likely to suffer from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa and should get help. It was devised to be used by non-professionals. What's An Eating Disorder? What Is the SCOFF Questionnaire? The SCOFF questionnaire is a simple, five-question screening measure to assess the possible presence of an eating disorder. It was developed in the United Kingdom by Morgan and colleagues in 1999. The SCOFF questionnaire utilizes an acronym (Sick, Control, One, Fat, Food), which does not translate perfectly to other countries because of the reference to "one stone." It also does not translate exactly as the "sick" is specifically means "vomit." However, the questions themselves are easily adapted to any culture. Answering "yes" to two or more of the following questions indicates a possible case of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or other eating disorder: Do you make yourself Sick (induce vomiting) because you feel uncomfortably full?Do you worry you have lost Control over how much you eat?Have you recently lost more than One stone [approximately fifteen pounds] in a 3 month period?Do you believe yourself to be Fat when others say you are too thin?Would you say that Food dominates your life? Next Steps If you answered "yes" to two or more of the questions above, you should make an appointment for an assessment with an eating disorder professional, such as a therapist, dietitian, or physician. A professional can determine if you do, indeed, suffer from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or other eating disorder. Once you have been diagnosed, a professional can also help you begin treatment by determining what level of care would be appropriate for you, as well as helping you build a treatment team. If you didn't answer "yes" to two or more of the questions but you believe you may have a problem anyway or someone else is concerned about your eating or exercise behavior, you still should seek help, since the SCOFF questionnaire may not pick up all eating disorders or disordered eating behaviors. It is also common for many people with eating disorders do not believe they are ill. You may still be struggling with body-image concerns or an obsession with healthy eating, in which case treatment may help you. Why Do Some People Get Eating Disorders? How to Find Professional Help This can be difficult, and you may want to find someone close to you who can help you locate the right professionals, make phone calls for you, and maybe even go with you to appointments. This support person can be anyone whom you trust to share what you are struggling with, including a family member, a close friend, a teacher or a member of the clergy. It takes courage to seek treatment, but recognizing that you have a problem and realizing you need help are critical first steps to your treatment and recovery from your eating disorder. The Best Online Therapy Programs We've tried, tested and written unbiased reviews of the best online therapy programs including Talkspace, Betterhelp, and Regain. It's not always easy to find professionals who specialize in treating eating disorders. If you're having trouble locating someone, try asking your family physician, obstetrician/gynecologist, a school counselor, a teacher, a clergy member, or a nurse. You may also have friends or family members who could recommend a therapist or psychiatrist to you. Fortunately, therapists often refer to each other. Therefore, if your initial contact is with a therapist who doesn't specialize in eating disorders, that person likely can provide you with the name of someone who does. There are also online tools such as the American Psychological Association's Psychologist Locator and the Find a Therapist resource offered by Psychology Today. You may also want to explore self-help options for bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder. You can reach out to the National Eating Disorders Association for additional support. They provide a toll-free confidential hotline (800-931-2237) that is staffed daily by trained volunteers who provide information, support, and referrals to treatment. They also offer 24/7 crisis support via text (send 'NEDA' to 741741). 9 Essential Facts About Eating Disorders 4 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Sanchez-Armass O, Raffaelli M, Andrade FCD, et al. Validation of the SCOFF questionnaire for screening of eating disorders among Mexican university students. Eat Weight Disord. 2017;22(1):153-160. doi:10.1007/s40519-016-0259-7 Morgan JF, Reid F, Lacey JH. The SCOFF questionnaire: a new screening tool for eating disorders. West J Med. 2000;172(3):164–165. doi:10.1136/ewjm.172.3.164 Hill LS, Reid F, Morgan JF, Lacey JH. SCOFF, the development of an eating disorder screening questionnaire. Int J Eat Disord. 2010;43(4):344-51. doi:10.1002/eat.20679 Solmi F, Hatch SL, Hotopf M, Treasure J, Micali N. Validation of the SCOFF questionnaire for eating disorders in a multiethnic general population sample. Int J Eat Disord. 2015;48(3):312–316. doi:10.1002/eat.22373 Additional Reading Morgan JF, Reid F, Lacey JH. The SCOFF questionnaire: assessment of a new screening tool for eating disorders. BMJ. 1999;319(7223):1467–1468. doi:10.1136/bmj.319.7223.1467 By Susan Cowden, MS Susan Cowden is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Eating Disorders Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.