How do I tell my Parents that I have an Eating Disorder?


There is nothing convenient about having an eating disorder, whether it be anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, purging disorder or binge eating disorder. There is also nothing convenient about telling your parents and loved ones about your personal struggles with one. Luckily, there are several resources that can help you prepare for when you tell them. Many therapists first recommend taking the NEDA online eating disorders screening which can be found at

If the quiz indicates that you could have an eating disorder, you might share the quiz results with your parents as an ice breaker. Here are a few steps to use in your plan of action.


1.Arrange a specific time and place to tell them.

Choose a setting that is quiet and calm and when both parents are in a positive mood. Make sure there are no distractions. If you have siblings that are around and you don’t feel comfortable with their presence, ask them to leave.

2.Be honest about what’s going on.

Reveal all details and hold nothing back. Tell them when you began struggling with your eating habits, what your exact eating habits are, how it has impacted your everyday life and why it’s important for you to get better.

3.Be open and understanding to what their response might be.

Their reactions will vary. However, most parents are overwhelmingly supportive of their children’s pursuit of improving their physical and mental health. Some parents may already be familiar with eating disorders and the treatment process and be proactive in helping you get into a treatment program.

4.Research and have a list of treatment centers for eating disorders already devised.

By having a list of treatment centers already made, you will be able to immediately sit down with your parents and begin looking at which treatment center may provide the best fit. Things to discuss include length of stay, which insurances are accepted, the center’s treatment philosophy and which treatment methods are offered, the location of the facility, amenities and self-pay options. You may also look for reviews for the treatment centers you’re interested in. Psychology Today and Eating Disorder Hope are two of the best online resources for finding treatment centers for eating disorders.

If you’re still uncomfortable about telling your parents that you have an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has a toll free helpline that can be reached at 1-800-931-2237. The counselor you speak with be able to refer you to reputable programs and therapists that will best be able to address your treatment needs. You might also check with officials at your school to see if they have counseling resources available for students that are struggling with mental health disorders.

If yourself or a loved one are currently suffering from an eating disorder, consider enrolling at Magnolia Creek. Magnolia Creek is one of the leading eating disorder treatment centers for women in the United States and emphasizes self-acceptance, validation and personal empowerment. To learn more about Magnolia Creek’s treatment curriculum, please call 205-409-4220 to speak with an admissions counselor or complete our contact form.




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