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Adriana Campbell's Story: Online Support Groups and Recovery


Adriana Campbell, a college student in California, tells us how an online support group jump-started her recovery.

Why did you initially seek help from an online support group?

My best friend noticed that I was having issues with an eating disorder, and I didn't think I did. She told me to go to a website about anorexia because she was worried about me, but I didn't want to acknowledge that I had a problem. I finally checked it out, and I was surprised how much help I got.

What was the most helpful part of the online support group?

The information that they gave me on "not being aware" of having an eating disorder was the most helpful. I was in denial, so I don't think I would have gotten better if my friend hadn't made me go online for help.

It was a few years ago, so the support group was mostly done through anonymous emails, where you could email someone else on the website, and they could email you back. I emailed someone saying that I wasn't sure if I had an eating disorder but that people were making comments about my eating and my weight. I described everything I was going through in that email - I didn't leave anything out. When I got an email back, it was exactly what I needed to hear. The person said that it sounded like I had a serious eating disorder but that it was up to me what I wanted to do about it.

I also learned about body dysmorphic disorder, which I had previously never heard of. After I learned about BDD, I had a whole new outlook - I realized that it was possible I was sick. Then, the emailer gave me a bunch of resources and numbers that I could call if I wanted further help.

Were you uncomfortable at first?

Yes, I was. Especially because I didn't seek the website out myself, my friend did. And also because I really didn't think I had an issue with eating, let alone an actual disorder.

What role did it play in your recovery?

It helped my parents to figure out that I needed help. My mom was looking through my computer one day and found the website as well as my emails. After seeing that other people were trying to help me overcome my eating disorder, my mom took action and took me to the doctor.

It also helped me to prepare for the diagnosis I got when I went to the actual doctor. If I hadn't received online help and support, I would've been shocked and angry when the doctor told me I was anorexic, but instead I accepted his decision and his help.

Would you recommend online support to other people with eating disorders?

Yes, I definitely would. I think it's a great first step to realizing you have a disorder and getting real medical help.

Check out these eating disorder forums on