If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, online meetings can be a helpful addition to treatment. They offer a safe, confidential environment and are not judgmental or blame-based.
Some support groups are private and require members to give their real name, while others are open to the public and are anonymous. They also differ in their format.
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Center for Discovery
Online meetings for eating disorders are a great way to find support from people who have had similar experiences. They aren’t a replacement for face-to-face therapy, but they can be a great place to start.
The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness offers confidential online meetings for individuals and their families. These are not meant to replace traditional treatment, but rather provide a safe environment for recovering individuals and their loved ones.
They are held on a HIPPA-compliant video conferencing platform called Slack and are open to all. The sessions last 75 minutes, and participants can access them on their own or with a guardian.
EDCI’s online support group is free and moderated by professionals. It is designed for adolescents and young adults who struggle with body image, self-worth, and social media impact issues.
18percent is one of the few websites to offer free, professionally moderated online support groups for individuals and their loved ones. The site has a wide variety of options, from the occasional impromptu online chat to live virtual meetings. It also boasts a nifty little toolbox of helpful tidbits like the triumvirate of online forums, an ever-growing library of resources, and an extensive collection of videos, articles, and podcasts. There’s even an Eating Disorders Association affiliate for those looking for local resources and a plethora of community events if you are lucky enough to be in the neighborhood. The website is also home to some of the best eating disorders blogs and forums on the Internet. The organization is particularly adept at keeping track of the latest in treatment research and clinical innovations.
Eating Disorders Anonymous
An online meeting for eating disorders can provide a safe and supportive environment to discuss issues related to recovery. They can be a good complement to therapy sessions, and help you build community with others who have similar experiences.
Eating Disorders Anonymous is the only national organization that offers professionally moderated online support groups for those in recovery from an eating disorder and their family members. These groups meet weekly and serve as a supportive component of treatment.
The Renfrew Center of Atlanta offers five eating disorder support groups that meet virtually and are led by a therapist. Four of the groups require pre-screening and a $30 fee, which can be paid out of pocket or sent to insurance.
ANAD also offers adolescent-specific support groups, with eight additional groups available to people recovering from eating disorders and their friends and family. Several of the groups emphasize peer-to-peer connection and are free to attend.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) is the oldest nonprofit organization geared toward eating disorder recovery. It offers online meetings for people with eating disorders and their families.
ANAD also has a helpline that provides information and referrals to eating disorder clinics, treatment centers, support groups and other resources. The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm CST.
This nonprofit provides free, confidential support to individuals and their families who have an eating disorder or are concerned about someone else with an eating disorder. It is open to all ages, races and cultures.
Its website contains information on eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. It also has an online directory of therapists, links to organizations’ Web sites and advocacy information.
These online meetings are a great way to connect with others who have experienced similar struggles and learn from their experiences. Many of them are hosted by trained moderators, who will filter out unwanted discussions and misinformation.