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Support for anorexia nervosa is available through several organizations and from mental health professionals specializing in the disorder. It may be confusing with different opinions from family and friends, doctors and even the media. Start by reminding yourself daily what a healthy weight is for your body type. Donít visit pro-anorexia web sites. Anorexia nervosa is not a lifestyle choice - itís a disease. Try to acknowledge that you may not be the best judge of whether you're eating enough or are at a healthy weight. Try to identify situations that trigger thoughts or behavior that may contribute to your anorexia and develop a plan of action to deal with these triggers. It also helps to look for positive role models. Remind yourself that that ultra-thin models or actors showcased in women's magazines or gossip magazines often don't represent healthy bodies and they are not the norm. Look for people who have overcome the illness and have their anorexia nervosa under control. Find out what worked for them and how it might work for you, as well. Do not ever give up hope.

If someone you know is showing signs of anorexia nervosa, there are things you can do to help.

Set aside time to talk privately with your friend. Make sure you talk in a quiet place where you won't be distracted.

Tell your friend about your concerns and be honest. Tell your friend you are concerned and that you think these things may be a sign of a problem that needs professional help.

Ask your friend to talk to a professional. Offer to help your friend find a counselor or doctor and make an appointment, and offer to go with her or him to the appointment.

Donít push if your friend won't admit that she or he has a problem. Remember, denial is one of the symptoms of the illness. Be sure to tell your friend you are always there to listen if she or he wants to talk.

Don't place blame, shame or guilt on your friend. Don't say, "You just need to eat," etc.

Don't give simple solutions. Don't say, "If you'd just stop, then things would be fine!"

Let your friend know that you will always be there for them - no matter what.

For more information about anorexia nervosa, contact the following:

The National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NIH, HHS
Phone: (866) 615-NIMH (6464)
Internet Address: http://www.nimh.nih.gov

National Mental Health Information Center , SAMHSA, HHS
Phone: (800) 789-2647
Internet Address: http://www.mentalhealth.org

Academy for Eating Disorders
Phone: (847) 498-4274
Internet Address: http://www.aedweb.org

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
Phone: (847) 831-3438
Internet Address: http://www.anad.org

National Eating Disorders Association
Phone: (800) 931-2237
Internet Address: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org


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