Finding Treatment: Where to Turn for Resources and SupportGetting Help and Finding Treatment: Where to Turn for Resources and Support

At some point in their lives, 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will struggle with an eating disorder. These life-threatening illnesses are difficult to treat and the physical and emotional toll is high. Obviously, early intervention and appropriate treatment is essential for lasting recovery. As the prevalence of eating disorders increases, we learn more and more about these potentially deadly illnesses. Despite the clinical evidence outlining the psychological and physical impacts, treatment can be difficult and expensive to obtain even with insurance coverage. Ongoing research funding for eating disorders is also lacking. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has allocated $1.20 in research funding per eating disorder patient as opposed to $159 per patient for schizophrenia research.

Major efforts by advocacy organizations have helped to raise awareness and provide education about eating disorders in the public sector and among clinicians. However, there is still stigma and shame attached to these illnesses that can prevent some people from seeking help.

These challenges in awareness, research, and treatment options can leave clients and their families floundering and feeling isolated. Where can they turn for help in a time of crisis? Knowledge is power, and resources abound to help clients and families get started on the road to treatment and recovery. The following is a list of resources for information, insurance coverage, and financial considerations.

Information and Resources for Patients and Families

  • National Eating Disorders Association ( A comprehensive organization that provides information on warning signs/symptoms, treatment options, insurance, advocacy, and recovery. NEDA offers toolkits for parents and educators/coaches to help them in supporting those with eating disorders.
  • Eating Disorders Coalition ( An organization that leads research and advocacy efforts in the field of eating disorders.
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders ( An organization that works to raise awareness and prevent eating disorders.
  • Binge Eating Disorder Association ( Dedicated to prevention and treatment of binge eating disorder.

Help With Insurance Coverage

It is important to become very familiar with your health plan’s coverage prior to entering treatment. Insurance companies have different coverage levels for medical and mental health, and in-network and out-of-network providers. Many treatment centers and providers will contact your insurance for you to determine benefit levels, but you can also contact member services to get help with learning about coverage levels and deductibles.

If you don’t have insurance, a great place to start is the Foundation for Health Coverage Education ( to learn about your options.

Scholarships, Loans, and Research Programs

The Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center ( provides some excellent resources for clients and families in search of financial assistance for treatment. Loans, scholarships, and research programs all exist to make treatment more accessible for clients who are experiencing financial distress or do not have insurance coverage.

Research programs are generally located at medical or psychiatric centers and conducted in conjunction with local universities. EDReferral provides a comprehensive listing of these studies, organized by state.