Treating Eating Disorders

Woman and girl on couch, girl looking unwell.Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. All involve eating patterns that can harm your health and can greatly disrupt your life. For most people, treatment can help. Think about talking with your healthcare provider, nurse, school counselor, or someone you trust. The first step is finding the guidance and support you need.

What causes eating disorders?

Right now, no one knows just what causes eating disorders. They occur in about half a million people, mostly young women. These disorders don’t just affect your body, they also affect the way you feel about yourself. For you to become healthy, your body and your mind both need care.

Healing your body

If you’re weak, ill, or very thin, you may need to be in the hospital for a time. You’ll eat healthy foods so you gain weight and become stronger. You’ll also learn the best way to eat once you’re home.

Healing your emotions

You might talk with a therapist about your feelings, your family, or the problems in your life. This can help you understand how emotions affect the way you eat. You’ll also learn how to change your eating habits and cope with stress. In time, you’ll likely start feeling better about yourself. Sometimes you may also take certain medicines. These may make you feel less depressed. They may also help you stop binge eating and purging. Some medicines may help you worry less about your weight.

Looking toward the future

Sometimes people with eating disorders get better for a time. Then they may start having problems again. If this happens to you, tell someone right away. In most cases you’ll stay healthy for years. But you may need some extra help now and then.


  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 630-577-1330

  • National Eating Disorders Association 800-931-2237

  • National Institute of Mental Health 866-615-6464