National Eating Disorders Association

In the wise words of the High School Musical 2 cast, “What time is it? Summertime!”

Getting to the Root Cause to Treat Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are rarely solely related to abnormal or disturbed eating habits. In fact, eating disorders are rarely even about food. As an integrative medicine practitioner with over thirty years of experience in treating eating disorders, knowing the root cause of eating disorders like bulimia, binge eating disorder, and anorexia is critical to developing an effective treatment plan for patients. 

How often do advertisements and social media posts generate discussion not about the cause of the post or advertisement, but because of the way the message was delivered?

NEDA was honored to recognize Hillary Clinton with the Lifetime Achievement Award at our 2017 Annual Gala in New York. Clinton was the very first United States senator to introduce bipartisan federal legislation to provide information and education on the prevention and treatment of eating disorders. Throughout her career, she has tackled the systemic issues that play a role in the eating disorders epidemic and her early, groundbreaking efforts continue to influence policy today. 

I consider myself extremely blessed to have a good relationship with my father. After my parents' divorce, physical distance has become more common, but if anything, I’m lucky to have grown closer to him. As a result of the separation, my dad was out of the house before I first entered treatment for my anorexia, but he’s been a teddy bear of support ever since.

Eating disorder recovery can be a battle. You need to be well-armed with courage, heart, patience and a strong army of supporters. In honor of Father’s Day, we asked our NEDA community members to share how the men in their lives (fathers, brothers, stepdads, grandfathers, etc.) stood by their side in recovery.


I remember when I was five years old. You took me to my elementary school parking lot on a sunny, warm evening to teach me how to ride a bike. I remember us staying in that wide, open parking lot until I was riding circles around you. The picture we have from that day, where I have the biggest smile on my face, proves just how proud I was of myself and how you never let me give up. 

With Father’s Day approaching, I can think of no better gift than a conversation with my daughter, Anne. This wasn’t always the case. Not long ago, my conversations with Anne were punctuated by my own frustration and fear. I didn’t understand Anne or her eating disorder. Fearful that I would say something that would upset my daughter, I avoided important topics. We never talked about issues that really mattered to each of us. And yet, we spent lots of time and energy talking.

I was 30 years old when I started restricting. It wasn’t a choice or an attempt to lose weight. I had just found out my husband was having an affair. When I confronted him, he left to live 450 miles away and I became a single mum to our two girls, aged 2 and 4. All in the space of a day. My whole world changed and I felt out of control. I’d always lost my appetite due to stress and put my weight loss down to this. I figured it would return soon.  

From an early age, I knew that I loved deeply. I loved people in a way that felt like too much at times. I had names for every single one of my stuffed animals and I'd always buy them used because I felt like I had to save all of the orphans that were being given away. Growing up in a big family, I never felt alone. My three brothers and two sisters would keep me company and I always had someone to play with. It wasn't until the end of 5th grade when I learned how to play by myself—not because I didn't have friends, but because I felt safer being by myself.