Eating disorders affect more than the person battling the condition. They also impact families, friends, partners and more. Numerous eating disorder recovery resources exist to support those struggling and their loved ones. Resources can help those affected learn helpful recovery tips and feel less alone.
Resources for Your Recovery
Eating disorders can severely harm your mental and physical well-being. If left untreated, they can lead to dangerous medical consequences and can even be fatal. That’s why there are many resources available to those struggling with eating disorders and their loved ones that can guide and support them through recovery.
Eating disorder resources can include:
- Medical/psychiatric treatment
- Help hotlines
- Support groups
- Online forums
- Informational books and help guides
- Screening tools/quizzes
- Stories of hope from survivors and loved ones
Because each person experiences eating disorders differently, some resources may be more helpful than others. Eating disorders are extremely serious, so it is important to utilize any and all resources you find helpful.
In our diet-fueled society, it may be difficult to detect whether you or a loved one has an eating disorder. While only a medical professional can formally diagnose an eating disorder, there are tools you can use to gauge whether someone is displaying warning signs and symptoms.
Helpful eating disorder screening tools include:
- Online Quizzes
- Symptom Guides
- Physical/Mental Health Questionnaires
It is important to note that lists outlining eating disorder warning signs should not be used as checklists. A person with an eating disorder may only exhibit a handful of common symptoms, yet still be suffering immensely.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has their own Eating Disorder Screening Tool, a short quiz designed for ages 13 and up.
It is useful to be aware of the symptoms even if you don’t have an eating disorder. Increased awareness may help lead to an early diagnosis of your own, or allow you to better support a friend, child, partner or peer who is suffering.
Eating disorders often thrive in secrecy and isolation. Sufferers may intentionally or subconsciously spend a lot of time alone to participate in harmful eating behaviors or because they have lost interest in social activities they once enjoyed. Those affected may also believe that no one understands their feelings toward food, eating or their weight. This leads to more isolation and loneliness.
For these reasons, support groups can be very helpful to those suffering from eating disorders. Support groups are an encouraging form of social interaction where people can feel understood and less alone.
There are also YouTube channels, blogs, online forums and more devoted to eating disorder recovery. These digital avenues may help you get the strength and resources you need if you are uncomfortable with in-person meetings.
Additionally, there are support groups designed for parents, partners and loved ones of those battling eating disorders. These groups help people learn to cope with their own worries as their loved one recovers. It can also educate them on how to better support and care for their loved one during treatment.
What to Expect from a Support Group
In these groups, you will learn about real-life stories and examples from men and women who are also recovering from eating disorders and what worked for them. Hearing these relatable stories helps those affected understand that they are not alone in their feelings, and that there is hope for recovery.
These safe spaces may be available in your community or online. In these support groups, you can find recovery tips, support and encouragement.
Eating Disorder Statistics
Eating disorders often lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Keep in mind that these disorders are all too prevalent. You are not alone in your feelings.
It is estimated that 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will develop an eating disorder in their lifetime. Further, anorexia nervosa is the third most prevalent chronic disease in young people.
These numbers are alarming and saddening, especially considering anorexia nervosa is the most fatal mental disorder. It’s also important to note that these numbers are only estimates. Men and women suffer from eating disorders without ever being formally diagnosed. Many people are left untreated and often face harmful mental and physical consequences.
The prevalence of eating disorders is climbing. A Minnesota study found that there has been an increase in anorexia diagnoses in females aged 15 to 24 over the past 50 years. With these statistics in mind, it is important that we educate ourselves and others about the signs, symptoms and risks of eating disorders.
Stories of Hope
Eating disorders can be fatal, but many people do not seek treatment because they think they cannot escape. Even during treatment, those affected can suffer from feelings of hopelessness throughout their recovery. Hearing the success stories of other men and women who are working through or have overcome their disorder can be extremely beneficial as you pursue recovery.
Eating disorder success stories can provide helpful information on treatment options and day-to-day recovery tips. They offer encouragement and remind people that they are not alone. Success stories can also be a source of inspiration and hope for families.
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, you may feel as though there is no way out. Keep in mind you are not alone or abnormal in any way. Let these stories remind you that recovery is possible. The symptoms and consequences of eating disorders are mentally and physically distressing. However, many men and women recovered and went on to live lives of freedom and happiness.