When to Seek Help

When to Seek Help for an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders can be very serious. They can be detrimental to your health, impact relationships, disrupt your life, and they have one of the highest mortality rates of all mental illnesses. Left untreated, disordered eating can have long-term medical implications, including:

  • Acid reflux
  • Osteoporosis
  • Kidney infections and failure
  • Liver failure
  • Dental issues
  • Infertility
  • Muscle loss and weakness
  • Esophageal rupture
  • Cardiovascular issues

Do you have an eating disorder?

Use the following questions to help determine if you or a loved one has an eating disorder.

  1. Do you use food to cope with stress or loneliness?
  2. Does the number on the bathroom scale affect your outlook on life?
  3. Are you preoccupied by food?
  4. Do you engage in binge eating or purging?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are not alone. Many people of all ages struggle with eating and body image problems. 


Our physicians and clinical psychologists1 have a deep understanding of the complex nature of eating and weight-related disorders. We provide comprehensive, multidimensional treatment from a team of experienced professionals, tailored to meet your individual needs. Our services include:

  • Psychological assessment and psychiatric evaluation
  • Fitness assessment
  • Hospitalization with a specially designed dietary regimen to help you get stronger
  • Consultation with a dietitian to help you learn how to eat at home after you are discharged
  • Talking with a therapist about your feelings, your relationships or other stressors in your life so you can learn healthier ways to deal with problems and stress
  • Family therapy
  • Medications to help you cope with depression and anxiety
  • Support groups with others who are going through the same journey as you. Ongoing support can help you avoid a relapse.

Related Resources

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAD): ANAD has a listing of support groups on their website. Some of these groups are led by professionals, and others are peer support groups often started by people who are or have been in treatment for an eating disorder.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA): NEDA is feeding hope by providing outreach to people with eating disorders. Their website allows you to search for treatment providers, support groups and research studies.

Professionally Led Support Groups: Professionally led support groups are becoming more difficult to find, however there is an intensive outpatient program (IOP) called Insight into Eating that offers a range of eating disorder support. For more information about their Chicago locations, call 312.540.9955.


In the spirit of keeping you well-informed, some of the physician(s) and/or individual(s) identified are neither agents nor employees of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare or any of its affiliate organizations. They have selected our facilities as places where they want to treat and care for their private patients.