National Eating Disorders Association
Blog

The relationship between eating disorders and depression is a complex problem to understand, treat, and research. The parable of the three blind men who encounter an elephant illustrates the problem faced by patients and their providers. It is easy to misperceive that the elephant is only a long hose (trunk), a rope (tail), or the side of a building (body), depending upon which part of the elephant you encounter. People with eating disorders force us to face our collective confusion about the nature of treatment and intervention.  

Star Wars, one of the most epic stories of all time, debuted 40 years ago today. A classic example of the hero’s journey, Star Wars has become a staple in our cinematic culture, but the lessons have always gone beyond the screen. Even if you have never seen the film, everyone knows about “the Force” and “the dark side.” Most of us have had to find the Force within us to fight off our own version of the dark side. For some, eating disorders are the dark side.

It was a hot May afternoon in Florida when my mom told me I was no longer allowed to exercise until I reached a healthy weight. She had already asked that I not post pictures of myself on Facebook, for fear that future employers might see what I was going through. I was stressed out, depressed, and losing weight fast.

My mom had another word for it.

Relapse.

It seems as though I’ve been dancing almost as long as I could talk. I can still remember the days of pink tutus and ribbon-tied tap shoes. The unmistakable smell of hairspray on show days, and the adrenaline rush that a successful performance always resulted in.

Never did I think, however, that one day dance could be just as much a part of my voice as my vocal chords. Nor did I imagine that dance would become one of the ways I could share my experience about having an eating disorder with hundreds, even thousands of people.

One of the most common questions I’ve received as both a clinician and an eating disorder survivor is how to know whether someone truly has an eating disorder. In this day and age, when food fads and diets come and go quickly and people so regularly, casually discuss the manner in which they “eat their feelings” as a means of coping, it can be hard to discern when one’s eating practices morph from disordered eating into an eating disorder.

When I got pregnant, my midwife insisted I take the gestational diabetes test repeatedly because she couldn’t believe my blood sugar was normal. The extra testing proved over and over that my baby and I were healthy, but my midwife never seemed convinced. —Anna 

It’s no secret that disabled people are underrepresented or misrepresented in mainstream media. Just last year, Variety reported that 95% of disabled characters in the nation’s top 10 television shows are portrayed by able-bodied actors. 

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common, but least understood, eating disorder in the United States. Intuitive eating and Health at Every Size® may be helpful tools for those in recovery, but public understanding of these concepts is limited. 

I remember the first time a dentist told me I might need dentures. I was barely 30 years old. I couldn’t believe it. I knew my teeth were bad. I knew that eating disorders were to blame. But dentures? Me? Seriously? 

I had always had great teeth growing up. I wore braces as a teenager and took good care of my teeth. My family and friends used to tell me all the time that I had a beautiful smile. 

But bulimia and anorexia took all that away. My beautiful smile was gone. Literally.  

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is excited to celebrate our collaboration with Facebook’s Crisis Support Over Messenger program. Through this exciting partnership, individuals can message the NEDA Helpline directly from our Facebook page.

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