Eating Disorder Support Groups and Where to Find Them
Eating disorder support groups are commonly used both during treatment and in the recovery of eating disorders. Eating disorder support groups provide sufferers a way to meet others going through the same or similar struggles. Sometimes feeling like, "no one understands them," seeing others with eating disorders can make a patient feel more comfortable to share her/his feelings knowing that those around them will not judge and will offer eating disorder support.
Eating disorder support groups are typically tied to an organization, an eating disorder treatment center or a 12-step model. Common support groups are:
- Affiliated with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
- Affiliated with the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
- Based on 12-step programs like: Eating Disorders Anonymous, Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous
NEDA Eating Disorder Support Groups
Many organizations both online and through facilities are members of NEDA. NEDA, a nonprofit group, "supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care."
NEDA's resources directory provides links to eating disorder support groups as well as other eating disorder support organizations. A wide variety of eating disorder support and treatment options for eating disorders are available.
Eating Disorder Support Groups Through ANAD
ANAD provides eating disorder support through a helpline, its website, and a comprehensive list of eating disorder treatment providers and eating disorder support groups. ANAD also assists in setting up additional support groups, both for eating disorder patients and for families of those with an eating disorder, worldwide.
12-Step Eating Disorder Support Groups
Several 12-step eating disorders support groups are available, such as Eating Disorders Anonymous, Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous.
These groups are based on a 12-step model of recovery similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. Eating disorder recovery is considered a lifelong process and these eating disorder support groups use terminology like, "sobriety in our eating practices." These groups consider recovering from an eating disorder to be a mental, emotional and spiritual journey to be made by surrendering their unhealthy eating patterns to a higher power.
These 12-step eating disorder support groups are:
- Not therapy or a substitute for therapy
- Not affiliated with religions or other groups
Groups can be attended any time and the only group requirement is a desire to stop unhealthy eating practices or recover from an eating disorder.
Where to Find an Eating Disorder Support Group
Eating disorder support can be found online and in person. Eating disorder support groups can be found through:
- National Eating Disorders Association Eating Disorder Support (NEDA)
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
- National Eating Disorder Alliance
Last Updated: 14 May 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD