Eating Disorder Hotlines

  1. Article SummaryPrint
  2. Basic Information About Eating Disorders
  3. Signs of Anorexia Nervosa
  4. Signs of Bulimia Nervosa
  5. Getting Help
  6. Call an Eating Disorder Hotline Now

Eating disorders are serious mental disorders that affect people of all age groups and both sexes, although eating disorders are more common in women. Any type of eating disorder behavior is potentially dangerous if left unaddressed, so it is important to get help as soon as possible. People with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or compulsive eating, can hide their behaviors, making it difficult to spot them easily. These diseases affect not just the person with the disorder but also his or her friends and loved ones. If you believe that you or someone you know has an eating disorder, we can help via our eating disorder hotline and direct you or your loved one to treatment centers that can help. Call our toll-free hotline at 1-800-928-9139 today for assistance.

Basic Information About Eating Disorders

Eating DisorderAs the name suggests, an eating disorder is characterized by dysfunctional behaviors and attitudes pertaining to diet, exercise and body image. Although most people with eating disorders are adolescent girls, these medical conditions can affect anyone. The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder; all of these have different symptoms, although there is some overlap and it is possible that people with eating disorders will cycle between them. Eating disorder hotlines can provide you with the needed information to take the first step to getting well.

Signs of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia -- as well as other eating disorders -- often occurs along with depression. According to data from the National Association for Anorexia and Other Disorders, 50 percent of people who have eating disorders also fit the profile for depression. Anorexia nervosa is the most widely known eating disorder and commonly involves the person refusing to eat. Sufferers of anorexia nervosa exhibit certain signs and behavioral symptoms, including but not limited to:

  • Preoccupation with diet, such as scheduling strict meal times
  • Counting calories, often self-imposing a dangerously low-calorie limit
  • Desire to be thinner, regardless of healthy weight standards
  • Inaccurate assessment of body shape (being distressed at being seen as fat)
  • Excessive exercise regimen
  • Skipping school or work to exercise or exercising immediately after a meal as if compelled to do so
  • Attempt to avoid socializing where food might be involved
  • Entertaining the idea of "good" and "bad" food, punishing oneself for eating "bad" food

Eating disorder hotlines can provide you or your loved ones with a referral to counseling sessions, or they can provide moral support for someone attempting to aid a loved one suffering from anorexia nervosa. Call our anorexia hotline today at 1-800-928-9139 for more information.

Signs of Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is the other most well-known eating disorder. Like anorexia, bulimia causes a preoccupation with food, weight and body shape. It is characterized by a cycle of eating large amounts of food in a short time and immediately purging, or forcibly removing the food from the body. This can be done by deliberately inducing vomiting or by abusing laxative. Both anorexia and bulimia are extremely dangerous to health. In some ways, bulimia nervosa is a more dangerous disease than anorexia nervosa; sufferers of bulimia can appear to be normal weight even when in full grip of the disease. Chronic vomiting can cause electrolyte imbalances, which in turn affect the function of the heart. Bulimia hotlines can give information on further physical symptoms.

Did You Know?

Eating disordered behaviors don't always fall under the anorexia or bulimia label. Someone can have multiple symptoms that overlap. This is known as EDNOS, or eating disorder not otherwise specified. For example, someone can exhibit the binge-purge episodes of bulimia and have a strict exercise regimen characteristic of anorexia.

Did You Know?

Another form of anorexia, colloquially known as "bigorexia" can affect men, making them want to become more and more muscular as an inverse to the common anorexia-borne impulse to slim down.

Getting Help

One of the most challenging aspects of eating disorders is that people often do not believe they have a problem and will react negatively upon being told their behavior isn't normal. If you call eating disorder hotlines on behalf of someone you think needs help, the operators can both offer you moral support and give you advice on how to approach the person about his or her problem.

It's important that you be tactful but firm. Don't resort to any insults, guilt trips or enumerate the possible health risks of his or her behavior. Sufferers of eating disorders often have low self-esteem, and feelings of guilt may aggravate the situation. Nevertheless, it is vital to get help. A 2007 study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry reported that, without proper treatment, people who develop bulimia nervosa will live an average of 8.3 years from onset.

Call an Eating Disorder Hotline Now

contactFrequently, treatment for severe eating disorders requires residential treatment involving a strict watch over the patient's diet and exercise to ensure he or she is at a healthy weight. Then, patients enter therapy to help them deal with the insecurities and issues that led to the development of disordered eating behaviors. The whole treatment process can take months or years to complete.

If you or someone you know needs help, don't hesitate to call us at 1-800-928-9139; when you call our eating disorder hotline, you can get answers to any questions you have. We can also direct you to behavioral addiction treatment options in your area.