A support group provides a safe place for people who live with eating disorders to share their experiences. By attending the meetings, group members receive support and encouragement from each other as they go through the recovery process.
Finding an Eating Disorder Support Group
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders (ANAD) web site is a good place to find information about eating disorders and learn about different therapeutic approaches that have been tried for people who suffer from them. An extensive list of links to support groups and therapists has been posted on the site, along with links to therapists who provide services to people with eating disorders.
Eating Disorders Anonymous
If you feel that a 12-step program will help you combat your eating disorder, you may want to consider joining Eating Disorders Anonymous. The goal of the program is to help its members live free from obsessing about food. A successful member is someone who learns how to treat themselves well, including eating nutritious food without dieting.
Online Support Groups
If getting to a meeting is too stressful or difficult for someone to commit to, help is still available. Online eating disorder support groups allow members to participate from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Mirasol's Online Support Group is a message board. Members can visit at any time to post and/or respond to messages from other members. Different forums have been set up for:
In addition, a series of pod casts aimed at women who are living with eating disorders has been posted.
Attend Before Committing to Join
When you talk to the person in charge of running the group, ask if you can sit in on a few meetings to get a feel for how the eating disorder support group is run before you officially become a member. That way, you can get a good idea of whether you would feel comfortable participating in the group you are considering.
If the first few groups you check out aren't right for you, keep on considering other eating disorder support groups until you do find one that feels right. If you don't comfortable being there, you won't reap the benefits that interacting with other people with first hand knowledge of eating disorders will give you.
Before You Join An Eating Disorder Support Group
There are many eating disorder support groups in existence, and they have different approaches to helping their members. If you are interested in joining a group, you will want to choose one that is a good fit for you. Here are some things you will want to consider before signing up:
- Is the group led by a nurse, psychologist, psychiatrist or lay person who has lived with an eating disorder?
- How many people attend the group?
- Which kinds of eating disorders do the group members have?
- What is the agenda for a typical meeting? Which kinds of issues are discussed?
- Are the meetings closed, or are spouses, family members and friends welcome too?
To find out more about local eating disorder support groups, ask your doctor about what is available, or speak to a social worker at your local hospital. They should be able to suggest a group that will be beneficial.