Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You may find it difficult to cope with anorexia when you're hit with mixed messages by the media, culture, and perhaps your own family or friends. You may even have heard people joke that they wish they could have anorexia for a while so that they could lose weight.

So how do you cope with a disease that can be deadly when you may be getting messages that being thin is a sign of success?

  • Remind yourself what a healthy weight is for your body, especially at times when you see images that may trigger your desire to restrict calories.
  • Don't visit pro-anorexia websites. These sites can encourage you to maintain dangerous habits and trigger relapses. Anorexia isn't a lifestyle choice. It's a disease.
  • Acknowledge that you may not always be the best judge of whether you're eating enough or are at a healthy weight.
  • Identify problem situations that are likely to trigger thoughts or behavior that may contribute to your anorexia so that you can develop a plan of action to deal with them.
  • Look for positive role models. Remind yourself that ultrathin models or actors showcased in women's magazines or gossip magazines may not represent healthy bodies.

If you're interested in joining a support group, ask your doctor if he or she knows if there's a group in your area, or call the help line for the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) at 630-577-1330. (This is a toll call.) You can also find information on the organization's website.

Jan. 05, 2012