While there aren’t many hotlines aimed at anorexia nervosa (AN) specifically, there are a number of different services that provide assistance for people struggling with eating disorders in general, as well as other associated disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Calling or texting can help offer emotional support, put you in touch with mental health professionals, or help you find other useful resources to seek treatment.
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Anorexia and Eating Disorder Helplines
Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
ANAD’s Eating Disorders helpline provides support and encouragement for those affected by eating disorders. They can help you process feelings, get through a meal, or talk you through urges to binge and purge. It also provides support for family members concerned about their loved one’s eating disorder. The hotline is not toll-free and long-distance charges may apply depending on your telephone service provider. Current operating hours are Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. CST, with plans for a 24-hour helpline in the future.
Other Mental and Behavioral Health Hotlines
If you (or a loved one) are struggling with anorexia nervosa or other mental health disorders, the following numbers can connect you to a network of people trained to help people with eating disorders, who will be able to point you in the direction of further help.
The National Mental Health Association provides a toll-free information line where you can be directed to your local mental health association and to support groups and community resources.
Mental Health America provides a toll-free 24-hour crisis line for people who need support, regardless of the time of day. It also offers a text crisis line, which can be reached by texting “MHA” to 741741.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, available at 1-800-662-4357, is a resource run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It’s designed to connect people with mental health and substance abuse resources available in their area. 
While not aimed at helping with AN or eating disorders specifically, this hotline can help to connect you with local assistance for these issues, and other related conditions.
Available 24/7, completely confidential, and available in both English and Spanish, this government resource can be a good place to start if you don’t know where to begin getting help for any kind of mental health concern you may be experiencing.
NAMI’s helpline answers questions about mental illness symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and legal issues. It does not provide therapy or counseling, but can offer referrals to local support groups, therapists, and treatment centers. The hotline’s operating hours are Monday–Friday 10 a.m.–6 p.m. EST.
If you are experiencing an emotional or physical crisis, it is likewise important to immediately seek out help.
The Crisis Text Line is one resource that can help in these situations. By texting HOME to 741741, you can get access to 24/7 support counseling. These volunteers are trained to help people in crisis and can help talk through how you’re feeling.
This resource is designed to get you through the temporary feelings of panic and despair common among many types of eating disorders and behavioral health issues. Crisis line workers can help put things in context, make the situation feel less grim and hopeless, and put you in contact with local crisis centers which may be able to offer further assistance.
If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm, you should contact someone for further help immediately.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a 24/7 confidential number you can call to talk to someone when you’re in severe crisis and/or considering suicide or other kinds of serious self-harm.  You will be put in touch with a skilled crisis worker who has been trained to listen, empathize with your situation, and provide you with treatment options, including nationwide treatment centers.
Workers for this hotline can also help point you in the direction of longer-term care options, which can help address the root of the issues that are causing you pain.
When Should You Call a Hotline?
If you or a loved one are showcasing suicidal ideation or experiencing thoughts of self-harm, it is important to seek help immediately.
Crisis helplines, in particular, are numbers you shouldn’t hesitate to call or text. If you’re in extreme distress, especially if you’re thinking about hurting yourself, contact one of these numbers. Your life matters, and there is someone waiting who wants to talk to you.
Otherwise, it’s good to reach out to these hotlines whenever you feel you may need help. That they’re free and confidential is an intentional part of their design, to help people struggling with eating disorders feel more comfortable reaching out whenever they feel the need to.
What Happens After You Call a Hotline?
While hotlines vary in their specifics, you will generally experience a brief delay after calling, during which time you will be connected to an operator for further assistance. You may also be met with an automated prompt after calling, which can ask you certain questions, such as the eating disorder you’re struggling with and your preferred language, in order to connect you with the most appropriate operator.
Talk Through Your Situation and Feelings
Assuming volunteers are currently available (and many numbers are 24/7), you will then talk to someone who has been trained to help with these types of situations. This individual can talk you through your feelings and help you identify what’s going on that’s making you so upset.
This professional can also help you calm down or reach a more balanced mindset in the immediate term and then work with you to determine what future steps to take toward prolonged help and recovery.
Work Through a Crisis and Get Treatment
For crisis numbers, the individual will focus more on the near-term benefit of helping you re-center and become calm enough to think rationally through your situation. They are trained with strategies that can help change your perspective and come down from a moment of crisis. Afterward, you can discuss future treatment options with them.
If you think you could benefit from a call to an anorexia hotline, don’t hesitate. It could be the first step on a journey to a sustained recovery from your eating disorder.
- Contact the Helpline. National Eating Disorders Association. Retrieved December 3, 2022.
- Crisis Text Line: Eating Disorders. Crisis Text Line. Retrieved December 3, 2022.
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved December 3, 2022.
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved December 3, 2022.