Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are a group of conditions that cause serious emotional and physical problems, involving extreme food and weight issues. There are many types of eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, etc.), and while they vary greatly in what they look like, they all point to an unhealthy, and sometimes dangerous relationship to food. Eating disorders are treatable.

Each person is unique, and should explore their options and select for themselves the most effective coping mechanisms for dealing with an eating disorder. That being said, many people have found successful treatment for ED through things like psychotherapy, support groups, medication to treat depression or anxiety if co-occurring, nutritional counseling, family-based treatment, and/or spiritual and indigenous approaches to healing.

There has been a rise in incidence of anorexia in young women 15-19 in each decade since 1930

National Eating Disorders Association

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Only 13% of teens aged 13-18 who have an eating disorder receive treatment

National Institute of Mental Health


A person with an eating disorder might think things like:

  • “Food is the only way I can give myself pleasure and/or make myself feel.”
  • “I don’t deserve to eat.”
  • “I can’t believe I just ate all that – I need to regain control by throwing up to get rid of it.”
  • “Everything feels so out of control; counting every calorie I eat and every pound I gain or lose gives me purpose.”


A person with an eating disorder might feel:

  • Emptiness
  • Loss of control
  • Disgust with self and body

Most research shows that there are no significant differences in characteristics of either eating disorders or in co-occurring disorders between males and females

The Center for Eating Disorders

Additional Resources

National Association for Males With Eating Disorders Site dedicated to representing and providing support to males with eating disorders, offering information, resources and research associated with this underrepresented population. Go to site
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Information and advocacy organization providing awareness and support to individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Offers a helpline via online chat or telephone, and extensive resources for help and support with a variety of ways to volunteer and become involved in advocacy. Go to site
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) For support and family help, with a network through communities around the U.S. for individuals and families struggling with mental health challenges. Contains articles aimed at helping people find resources, get help, and connect with those in similar situations and includes online discussion groups. Offer a number of ways to get involved including NAMI Walks, awareness events and campus groups. Also offer various support groups for grief and bereavement in different areas of the U.S.  Go to site
National Institute of Mental Health Extensive information and research transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses for prevention, recovery, and cure. Offers health information specific to age and gender. Go to site

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