Support Groups

I went to an overeating support group for three and a half years and it was hugely important step in my recovery from binge eating disorder. To find one yourself, you can start by simply Googling “eating disorder support groups” or “binge eating support groups” and your city or state—or see below:

National Eating Disorders Association

NEDA has a helpline that’s open to calls Monday through Friday from  8:30 to 4:30, Pacific standard time, where you can get information, therapist referrals, and help tracking down support meetings: 800-931-2237.

Binge Eating Disorder Association

Although BEDA doesn’t host its own support groups, the site has a growing list of groups and meetings and a listing of other support sites.

Eating Disorders Anonymous

This twelve-step group has meetings in thirty-two states, plus all-volunteer hotlines and phone meetings that you can call in to no matter where you live.

Overeaters Anonymous

Another twelve-step group, but this one has meetings and chapters in all fifty states and internationally, as well as phone and online meetings if there isn’t a group in your town or your don’t feel ready for a face-to-face meeting.

EDReferral.com

This site has a huge listing of free meetings in thirty-five states and Canada, plus referrals to therapists.

Your Campus Psychological or Health Services

Part- and full-time college students often have free—or superdiscounted—access to group meetings or therapy sessions.

 

To recommend a support group resource not listed here, or talk about your experience with one of these groups, email Sunny or leave a comment below:

12 Responses to Support Groups

  1. Andrew Walen says:

    The third Wednesday of every month The Body Image Therapy Center (located in Columbia, MD) offers a free support group for binge eating disorder at 7 p.m. For more information call (443) 602-6515.

  2. Jenn B. says:

    Every Wednesday I facilitate an Eating Disorder Support Group at Harmony Grove (located in San Diego, CA). The meeting is FREE and OPEN to the community. The meeting starts at 6:30 pm. Would love to meet anyone interested in attending. Please call (727) 237-3242.

    • Ana Baker says:

      Hi, my name is Ana Baker and I have struggled with an eating disorder for many years. I have been in and out of treatment for years and I am doing much better but still struggle a lot here and there. I wanted go find a support group to go to where I can talk to others with eating disorders and get support. I don’t have many people to talk to who understand what I’m going through. I would love information on your support group! :) thank you so much

      Ana

  3. Lauren says:

    I am interested in going to an OA meeting in my area. I have never been though and I’m a little nervous about what to expect. Will I really get anything from these meetings? I have been to the OA website, but I am still a little apprehensive. Any advice/stories about experiences with these meetings would be really helpful. Thank you so much.

    • Rachael says:

      Hi Lauren,

      It takes courage but go to OA! Try it out and stick around for 6 meetings to see if it’s for you. The room will be full of caring men and women, young and old, fat and thin.
      You share stories about your eating disorder and make friendships with people. It’s great not to feel alone. I’m 22 and am a regular member, I love it! I’ve stopped binging and it only costs me a few donated dollars a week. Xx

    • Alissa says:

      OA is absolutely worth a shot. I attended for a few months when I was in the worst stages of my binge eating, and just being in that supportive, loving space was immensely helpful. It was wonderful to be around people who could relate to my food issues and talk about it in an open, non-judgmental manner.

      You might find that some people approach you and ask if you’re new. Feel free to be honest and say you’re not exactly sure what you’re doing. There will usually be ‘sponsors’ in the group who are ready to mentor new members and show you the ropes.

      Agreed with Rachael–try several different meetings before you make a final decision.

      Good luck!

    • Shivi says:

      In regards to OA, I would try other support groups. I felt OA was somewhat strict and suffocating and they made you feel like you HAD to come to multiple meetings a week and that it was never something that you would leave/move on from- people had been going to it for 20 years and they were still overweight in the session I went to.

      I also felt that they thought there was only one way to solve overeating and that is their 12 steps and they didn’t really address practical things like Sunny suggests- ie. exercise/meditation, etc.

      Overall I found it kind of creepy and depressing.

      I think going to a therapist on your own is also beneficial and they will give you unique/personalised advice.

      • Rachel says:

        I have to respond to Shivi’s experience with OA, now having had a month of OA “abstinence” (no binge eating) under my belt. I completely understand her response to the meetings – of seeing people who were overweight and depressed, of feeling like it didn’t fully address all angles like exercise and meditation. I too went to meetings and saw this but I HIGHLY encourage anyone who is trying to overcome this to try out a few different meetings.

        I eventually found a HOW format meeting of OA to find many many normal weighted people with years of maintaining a healthy happy body weight (along with people still at the beginning of their journeys) and was encouraged to get what they have from OA. I feel more amazing today than I thought possible. I am so glad that I kept looking for the right meeting.

        There is no quick easy fix for our eating issues (otherwise we wouldn’t have them) and feeling uncomfortable in a new situation at first is normal. They didn’t talk about exercise and meditation the first meeting but that is naturally becoming a part of what I’m doing as I work my way through the OA program with my sponsor

        I have daily FREE (did I mention its free???) support from a network of people who understand EXACTLY what I’m going though.

  4. Lauren says:

    I don’t know how I found Healthygirl.org
    but I’m looking for someone to talk to about anorexia.
    Any website suggestions?

    • Sunny says:

      Yes, Hi Lauren. Check out the organizations listed here: http://healthygirl.org/resources/ And click through the Resource links on the right hand side of the page. All of the therapist info and treatment center info, etc., applies to all eating disorders, not just BED. Good luck! xo…Sunny

    • Sunny says:

      Hi Lauren,
      Yes, the organizations above are great for anorexia and bulimia, too, not just BED, especially NEDA and Eating Disorders Anonymous. Also check out the organizations here: http://healthygirl.org/resources/ and look at the Resources links on the right. Good luck.

  5. Erika says:

    I would really like to try joining a support group, but I am an atheist and the 12-steps references to God make me quite uncomfortable. Is there anything out there that has no religious undertones to it? Or am I wasting my time trying to reach out?

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