Online eating disorder support resources
(1) Dear Alice,
I am a freshman. I have an eating disorder, and I was wondering if there were any support groups online that you knew of. Please tell me. I would like to get support, but there are no groups on campus or close to me.
Someone who needs help
I know that I have an eating disorder... I starve myself for weeks eating as little as possible, then stuff myself to the point where I am sick. I want to know where I can go, through e-mail or over the internet, to talk to someone anonymously. I am too embarrassed to tell anyone around me. I realize how bad this is because of how it is affecting my life and happiness. I am trying to reach out... So who can I e-mail?
Dear Someone who needs help and Reader #2,
Bravo to the two of you for reaching out for support and assistance for your eating disorders. Asking for help takes courage and is a key step in the journey towards recovery and healing. Although it may be a long and bumpy road, you're already one step closer to regaining your optimal health and well-being. As you likely know, there are many websites specifically aimed at individuals with eating disorders. Some websites not only provide general information about eating disorders, but also information about how to get help (not only for yourself, but for your friends and family as well), and links to online support resources (i.e., other websites, and support groups), just to name a few.
Reader #2, you mentioned feeling uncomfortable seeking in-person support (at least right now); perhaps some of these sites can help get things going. To start you off, below is a list of some online eating disorder resources, some of which do offer online support groups where you'll have the opportunity to interact with others dealing with eating disorders, either directly or indirectly. Both of you may find that some of these resources helpful. They may also connect you to in-person eating disorder resources closer to you when you are ready to seek out that type of support:
- National Eating Disorders Association
- Overeaters Anonymous (OA)
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
- Eating Disorder Hope
If either of you are a college student, you may also seek out support from your campus' counseling center. If you don't have access to a campus counseling center, consider making an appointment with your health care provider; it’s well cited that having a comprehensive group of providers to work with — such as a medical provider, psychologist, and nutritionist — is most effective for treatment. It's difficult to admit there's a problem and ask for support, but neither of you are the first to ask, so rest assured that there are resources out there for both of you.
Kudos again for reaching out — all the best as both of you take the first step towards recovery.
Originally published Feb 21, 1997
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