National Eating Disorders Association

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Do I really need help?

Hi! I'm new here. I have struggled with weight issues and was diagnosed w/ an ED several years ago. They called it ED NOS, but it was mostly anorexic tendencies. In my early 20's (I'm now in my mid-30's), I lost so much weight that I had to be tube fed. Eventually, I seemed to be better. But now, I'm struggling again. I've lost a lot of weight in unhealthy ways, but am still within a healthy range for my height. My labs are a bit off here and there, but overall, I'm healthy. I want to lose more weight, but I feel others are making too much of an issue of it. I talk about it in therapy, but am in denial that I have a real problem. Plus, I don't want to give up my ED and am terrified of gaining weight.

What do you think? Do I have a real problem that requires help?

Thanks for listening.



First of all, I would like to welcome you to these forums! They are a place to find encouragement and support, and I hope you use them as such. I'm glad that you shared your struggles through your post, as I'm sure many other people are going through the same thing. It's so powerful to hear that you made great progress in recovering from your eating disorder in the past!

Relapses in 'eating disordered behavior' can occur, and you seem to have identified this yourself by saying that you have lost weight in 'unhealthy ways.' Although you might have a "normal" BMI, eating disorders are not solely characterized based on weight, but rather on one's way of thinking and his/her behaviors. That could possibly be why people around you are 'making too much of an issue of it'-because of concern for your physical AND mental health.

It is great that you are seeing a therapist, but I would encourage you to also seek medical care in the form of an ED specialist. He/she would be better equipped in deciding whether or not you need help, and if so, what kind of help. If you feel comfortable with someone that you have seen before, that would be perfect. If not, this website can help:

It's normal for anyone with an eating disorder to fear weight gain, but a big part of recovery is developing and maintaining a positive body image. Nutritionists, psychiatrists,your therapist, and your support system (including this forum) can all help you along the way. The NEDA helpline is another means of support that can be reached at: 1-800-931-2237.

Stay strong and I hope you continue to post about your journey!

-sj728, NEDA volunteer

Stay strong!

Hi angelserena,
I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with some of your old ED-like behaviors, but I'm so glad that you've opened up here on the forums! Just recognizing that you've returned to some of these habits and acknowledging that you've lost weight in what you call unhealthy ways is a HUGE and crucial first step in getting better! It shows that even though you are still scared about weight gain, there is still a part of you that recognizes there is a problem that is making you uncomfortable and concerned.

I completely agree with sj728 - relapses are not uncommon with EDs of all kinds. Another thing to keep in mind is that even though there are a lot of specific diagnoses about EDs (ED-NOS, anorexia nervosa, etc.), not everyone fits neatly into one title. Anyone can have habits that might fall into the symptoms list of multiple types of EDs - everything is on a spectrum so just because you might not fit one diagnosis, if you are recognizing unhealthy behaviors (as you have), it's a sign that your ED (regardless of its name) is impacting your life in a harmful manner. I second the idea that an ED specialist might benefit you and I'd encourage you to bring this up with your current therapist, who may have other resources as well.

Here are some links that might help in the meantime:
Positive Body Image:
Tips for Relapses:
Recovery & Relapse:

All the best to you!

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