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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text NEDA to 741741
National Eating Disorders Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

General Information

9 Truths About Eating Disorders

This resource, prepared by the Academy for Eating Disorders, provides information on what eating disorders really are, and risk factors that contribute to them.

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Busting Myths About Eating Disorders

There are many myths about the causes of eating disorders, how serious they are, and who develops an eating disorder. Read more to learn about common questions asked about eating disorders.

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Eating Disorder Risk Factors

Risk factors for all eating disorders involve a range of biological, psychological, and sociocultural issues. These factors may interact differently in different people, so two people with the same eating disorder can have very diverse experiences.

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Preventing Eating Disorders

Prevention efforts may involve reducing negative risk factors like body dissatisfaction, depression, or basing self-esteem on appearance. It can also involve increasing protective factors like non-appearance-oriented self-definition and replacing dieting with intuitive eating and appreciation of the body.

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Warning Signs and Symptoms

Someone struggling with an eating disorder generally won’t have all of these signs and symptoms at once, and the warning signs vary across eating disorders. This list is intended as a general overview of behaviors that may indicate a problem.

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Health Consequences

Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect a person’s emotional and physical health. They are real, complex, and devastating conditions that can have serious consequences for health, productivity, and relationships.

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Identity and Eating Disorders

Athletes

The pressure to win and emphasis on body weight and shape can create a toxic combination for some athletes. Athletic competition can also be a factor contributing to severe psychological and physical stress.

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LGBTQ+ Populations

People who identify as LGBTQ+ experience unique stressors that may contribute to the development of an eating disorder. Eating disorders disproportionately impact some segments of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Men and Boys

Despite the stereotype that eating disorders can only occur in women, about one in three people struggling with an eating disorder is male.

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Mid-life and Beyond

There is no age limit to disordered eating, and research shows that rates of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction occurring later in life are on the rise.

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People of Color

Eating disorders affect people from all demographics of all ethnicities at similar rates, but people of color are significantly less likely to receive help for their eating issues.

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Teen, Children, and Adolescents

Adolescent eating disorders are concerns that every parent hopes to avoid, but when they do develop, there are some helpful resources for everyone involved.

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Treatment and Recovery

Types of Treatment

Eating disorder treatment can be delivered in a variety of settings. Understanding the different levels of care and methodologies can be helpful when selecting a provider.

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Questions to Ask Treatment Providers

There are many different approaches to treatment, and one size doesn’t fit all. Since there isn’t a single approach that is considered superior for everyone, it is important to find the option that works for you by coming prepared with a list of questions to ask a potential provider.

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Choosing an Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Treatment in an eating disorder clinic is designed to not just reduce the symptoms of an eating disorder, but to treat the possible causes, and learn about body image, healthy exercise, family dynamics, and relapse prevention.

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What to Expect from Treatment

Treating an eating disorder generally involves a combination of psychological and nutritional counseling, along with medical and psychiatric monitoring.

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Stages of Recovery

Recovery from an eating disorder can be a long process that required not only a qualified team of professional, but also the love and support of family and friends.

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Recovery and Relapse

Recovery from an eating disorder can take months or years. Slips, backslides, and relapse then to be the rule, rather than the exception.

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Holistic Health and Weight Management

Learning to achieve a healthy lifestyle is accomplished through dedication, commitment, and discipline. Holistic health and wellness come through a balance of adequate nutrition, sufficient exercise, stress management techniques, psychological wholeness, and emotional stability.

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Recovery Record App

Recovery Record App

This app, available for iOS and Android mobile devices, if a free eating disorder recovery app that allows you to track your mood and meals, link with your health providers, and provide you with additional resources.

Types of Eating Disorders

General Information

Treatment and Recovery