Eating Disorder Q+A

EmmeNation is determined to help sufferers and families of sufferers of eating disorders find help, support and guidance during such a difficult, trying time for themselves and their family. We have compiled some potential questions one might encounter throughout this time, offering as much support, information and options for you to consider as possible. Being diagnosed with an eating disorder or watching a family member suffer through such a life-altering illness is easily one of the hardest experiences to go through. But there is hope. There are options. And there are a TON of resources and information to consider. You are never alone and EmmeNation is here to help!

  1. I’m concerned I may have an eating disorder. Where can I find an answer?
  2. We suggest speaking with a trained professional, perhaps setting up an initial therapy session to see what their diagnosis might be.

    You might also want to check out The National Eating Disorder Association’s Website.

    They have a TON of resources and also a screening tool that will guide you towards an answer.

  3. What are the different types of eating disorders? Where can I find information on all of this?
  4. According to the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), there are 3 types of officially recognized eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. There is also ED-NOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).The National Eating Disorders Association has a page on their website dedicated to offering information on each of these.

    We also deeply suggest taking a look at The Eating Disorder Sourcebook by Carolyn Costin, MA, MED, MFCC to better grasp the entire history of eating disorders along with statistics, research, etc. You can find the book on Amazon here.

  5. Where can I find help? Who do I turn to?
  6. If you have taken the screening or spoken to someone and have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, the best answer is always to GET HELP. There are many options when it comes to this decision, all depending on the severity of the situation, needs of the sufferer and family and what resources are available in your surrounding area. You may want to start by searching for different providers of mental health/eating disorder services in your area, ideally creating a team of health professionals to help bring yourself or the sufferer you are helping into recovery.

    There are a few different provider options and levels of care:

    • Inpatient/Residential Treatment: This option is where the client will enter treatment and live there for a certain period of time, relearning how to have a relationship with food, working through their inner demons and healing in general. This may be in a facility or a hospital.
    • Intensive Outpatient: This option is a lot like inpatient/hospitalization, but the patient will go home each night and sleep, they do not leave in the facility. Their daily activities might be similar to that of an inpatient option, but it is a bit less “intense.” And all-consuming.
    • Outpatient: This option consists of work with a PhD, PsyD, LCSW, LPC or some type of licensed professional in counseling. This very personal work will include visits X amount of times each week, slowly but surely working through the issues that have led the individual suffering to their disorder. There are also outpatient nutritionists that are usually an option for helping to get the individual back on track weight-wise and health-wise.

    You can find a more thorough explanation of all of this information along with more information on treatment settings, what to ask, etc. here.
    You can read more about treatment options and information on recovery with the help of NEDA’s resources.

  7. What if the person I am helping who has an eating disorder refuses treatment?
  8. Unfortunately, if they are above 18, they are technically in charge of all decisions and can refuse treatment, even if they have a diagnosable condition. There are intervention and forced treatment options, that might potentially involve a lawyer of some sort or some form of legal action.

    We suggest calling the NEDA Helpline at 1-800-932-2237 where they can give you more specific information such as lawyers who work with this sort of thing, interventionists and more.

    You might also want to look into the following Discovery Fit & health article on eating disorder interventions.

  9. I’m the friend/family member of someone suffering and am feeling lost and confused about helping the person I love navigate through this terrifying experience. What can I do?
  10. It is an incredibly scary experience, watching someone you love suffer through something that takes control of their bodies and changes who they are. But there are ways for you to find support and work through this trying time with others. You, like the sufferer, are never alone and never need to be. NEDA also offers the Parent, Family and Friends Network that offers limitless support and opportunities to connect with others who have suffered or are suffering though the eating disorder of a loved one. This information can be found here.

    You may also want to check out the Parent Toolkit, an outstanding rescource for family members to learn all about eating disorders, what they can do to help and where to start. You can find this here.

  11. What if I can’t afford treatment for my or a loved one’s eating disorder?
  12. Treatment is incredibly expensive, something that can close the door on someone who may be in desperate need for help. But, there are amazing options from fantastic organizations that are eager to help pay for treatment in whatever way they can.

    The following organizations are something you might want to look into:


  13. I feel alone and like I will never remain in recovery. What can I do to remind myself that I can do this?
  14. Recovery is an incredibly new, scary time for any sufferer. But, the last thing you are is alone! The National Eating Disorders Association has an incredible amount of connection possibilities for those going through treatment and entering recovery.

    You may also benefit from success stories in the form of longer novels and books that tell tales of difficult journeys but also show how even the most difficult of journeys can end in success. Take a look at the following options: