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At least 30 million people living in the United States experience some kind of eating disorder, according to the Eating Disorders Coalition. And almost half of those living in the U.S. know someone who’s experienced disordered eating.

These mental health conditions, which can include food restricting, binging, or over-exercising, can affect anyone.

Because so much in daily life can be triggering for survivors of eating disorders, online support groups can help those in recovery cope and find community as they heal. Additionally, anyone can join these support groups — you don’t have to have a diagnosis or be in treatment, and some are even open to loved ones of people with eating disorders.

The following outlines eight of the best online eating disorder support groups and why each one may be beneficial.

Eating disorder support groups provide a safe community for people in recovery from an eating disorder. Sometimes, these groups are led by a clinician or a moderator, however they are not meant to replicate or replace therapy or medical care.

Support groups specialize in offering peer-to-peer guidance, empathy, and emotional support.

Support groups can gather in person, but because of the ongoing pandemic, there are more options than ever for people to receive virtual support with online groups for eating disorder recovery.

To select the best online eating disorder support groups, we evaluated various platforms based on:

  • ease of use
  • cost
  • privacy
  • how they serve different communities and conditions

We also considered how these groups are moderated, as well as the guidelines for registering and participating.

Best overall

Center for Discovery

  • Price: free
  • Types of disorders supported: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, orthorexia nervosa, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), other specified feeding and eating disorder (OSFED), co-occurring disorders, primary mental health diagnosis, primary substance abuse diagnosis
  • Meeting types: online, via secure, HIPAA-compliant Zoom video conference platform (can attend anonymously)

With over 20 years of experience and various centers in 13 states across the U.S., Center for Discovery is an established leader in the eating disorder treatment field.

The organization provides weekly and bi-weekly general online support group meetings and more specific meetings for adolescents, BIPoC, caregivers, and more.

Some groups are led by a clinician, while others are peer-to-peer support-based. All the meetings are held via Zoom, which is HIPAA compliant (meaning it’s private and secure).


  • established therapy and treatment center
  • no RSVP required
  • professionals present


  • some groups only open to alumni of the center
  • no weekend meetings
  • not all groups meet weekly

Best anonymous option


  • Price: free
  • Types of disorders supported: various eating disorders
  • Meeting types: virtual/online (chat room, forums, social network)

When it comes to healing from an eating disorder of any type, HealthfulChat says they believe that strong peer support is key to getting on the right track. Their philosophy is that there’s power in numbers, and the organization says they strive to empower people with support and confidence.

The group’s chat room, forums, and social network offer space to connect with others around the world who are going through similar experiences, and may have a better understanding of what you’re dealing with. These spaces also allow users to be anonymous.


  • can use anonymously
  • quick registration
  • lots of people to connect with


  • must be over 16 years old to join
  • moderation and rules might not be strictly enforced
  • may feel too impersonal

Best variety of groups option

Eating Recovery Center

  • Price: free
  • Types of disorders supported: anorexia nervosa, ARFID, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, compulsive overeating, diabulimia, OSFED
  • Meeting types: in-person or virtual/online

The Eating Recovery Center has 35 facilities across the country dedicated to treating a variety of eating disorders in both adults and teens. The online support groups are broken down into specific disorders and groups, allowing people to find the best fit for them.

The center offers virtual groups for various communities, like LGBTQIA+, BIPoC, college students, and caregivers, and specialties like bulimia and overeating. There are also groups for clinicians who want to connect regarding their patients.

Attendance for each group is capped at 15 participants, so everyone should get a chance to be heard.


  • small groups
  • different groups to choose from
  • groups for those in recovery and their supporters


  • can only attend one group per week
  • no groups for those under 18 years of age
  • must pre-register

Best for teens

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders

  • Price: free
  • Types of disorders supported: various eating disorders
  • Meeting types: virtual (via Zoom)

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) is the oldest nonprofit organization geared toward eating disorder recovery in the U.S.

In addition to its daily helpline and email, ANAD provides school guidelines to help educators teach students about eating disorders and start a necessary conversation about body image.

This dedication to educating young people is part of what makes it our pick for the best platform for adolescents and teens. ANAD’s weekly adolescent and teen support group gives young people the opportunity to get free peer-to-peer support.

The organization also provides additional resources for teens and adolescents with a professionals directory, which can connect young people with a therapist in their area.


  • capped attendance
  • 75-minute sessions
  • well-established organization


  • need to pre-register
  • early start time could interfere with school
  • only one meeting per week

Best clinician-led group

National Alliance for Eating Disorders

  • Price: free
  • Types of disorders supported: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, ARFID, OSFED
  • Meeting types: virtual (in-person suspended due to COVID-19)

Founded in 2000 by eating disorder survivor Johanna Kandel, the Alliance for Eating Disorders provides inpatient, outpatient, and critical care at its Florida headquarters, as well as virtual and in-person support groups.

It is the only national organization to offer free, professionally moderated support groups each week. There are two groups: one for those in recovery and one for caregivers of those in recovery.

People who are interested in the recovery group can choose between two Zoom sessions each week: one during the week and one on weekends. The caregivers group meets once per week.


  • professionally moderated
  • weekly meetings
  • no cost


  • only for ages 18 and up
  • general groups only (except one for LGBTQIA+)
  • must register in advance

Best for moms

The Aviary

  • Price: free
  • Types of disorders supported: various eating disorders
  • Meeting types: virtual/online (scheduled chat)

Hosted by Beat Eating Disorders, an eating disorder charity based in the United Kingdom, The Aviary online support group is a confidential and inclusive chat room intended for moms, or anyone else supporting someone in their recovery from an eating disorder.

To access this support group, you’ll need to sign up for POD, the organization’s e-learning platform. Then, search the “Meet” area of the platform for The Aviary.


  • participant-led, so there’s freedom of discussion
  • moderated to ensure the rules and guidelines are followed


  • only meets once a week for an hour
  • lack of facilitator means discussions can get off-topic

Best for parents and caregivers

F.E.A.S.T. Around the Dinner Table Forum

  • Price: free
  • Types of disorders supported: anorexia nervosa, ARFID, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, OSFED
  • Meeting types: online (forum format)

This online support group forum began in 2004 as a way for caregivers and parents of children with eating disorders to connect. It remains the only global community for caregivers of children with eating disorders.

In 2007, the online community became the nonprofit F.E.A.S.T., or Families Empowered And Supporting Treatment for Eating Disorders.

Once registered in the forum, caregivers and parents can respond to existing posts and create new posts, all of which are moderated 24/7.

F.E.A.S.T. also offers webinars for caregivers (and recordings that can be watched any time) and an online support group specifically for fathers and male partners.


  • can be anonymous
  • create your own topics
  • global network of people


  • for parents and adults only
  • not moderated by clinicians
  • doesn’t provide structured group meetings

Best for continued learning and support

Morningside Chats in the Living Room

  • Price: free
  • Types of disorders supported: various eating disorders
  • Meeting types: virtual (via Zoom)

For those seeking continued support and education in recovery, this weekly Zoom group offers a safe space to engage with experts in eating disorders.

Each week, a new guest will share their perspective and knowledge, allowing participants to take part in a casual dialogue. The sessions are hosted by Sondra Kronberg, the founder and executive director of the Eating Disorder Treatment Collaborative.

Morningside Chats is ideal for people seeking an informal way to get continued support without having to engage in a more moderated group setting. Participants can be completely anonymous, as only the host and expert guest are shown via video during each session.


  • meetings are on Saturday mornings
  • can watch recorded previous meetings
  • education from experts in the field


  • more educational than therapeutic
  • only hosts shown on video, which may make the meeting feel disconnected if you prefer seeing people’s faces
  • informal format

HighlightsTypes of meetings
Center for Discoveryweekly and bi-weekly meetings (both peer-to-peer and clinician-led), meetings for adolescents, BIPoC, caregivers, and moreonline on a secure, HIPAA-compliant Zoom video conference platform
HealthfulChatchat room, forums, and social networking to connect with others worldwide; can participate anonymouslyvirtual/online (chat room, forums, social network)
Eating Recovery Center35 facilities nationwide and online support groups for specific groups of people including LGBTQIA+, BIPoC, college students, and caregiversin-person or virtual/online
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disordersoldest nonprofit for eating disorder recovery in the U.S.; offers a helpline, email, school guidelines for educators, weekly adolescent and teen support group, and professionals directory for local therapistsvirtual (via Zoom)
National Alliance of Eating Disordersinpatient, outpatient, and critical care; weekly virtual and in-person support groups for those in recovery and for their caregiversvirtual (in-person suspended due to COVID-19)
The AviaryUK-based confidential and inclusive chat room for moms or others supporting someone in their eating disorder recoveryvirtual/online (scheduled chat)
F.E.A.S.T. Around the Dinner Table Foruma global community for caregivers of children with eating disorders; moderated 24/7; live webinars and recordings for caregivers; support group for fathers and male-identifying partnersonline (forum format)
Morningside Chats in the Living Roomweekly Zoom with eating disorder experts; participate in casual dialogue and informal continuous support without a moderated group setting; can be 100% anonymousvirtual (via Zoom)

When looking around for the best eating disorder support group, you should consider the specific traits of a group along with your needs, goals, and how important each of those traits is to you.

Some factors you may want to consider include:

  • types of communities (i.e., parents/caregivers, college students, members of the LGBTQIA+ community)
  • conditions that are targeted
  • how well your privacy is protected (and whether or not you want to participate anonymously)
  • how easy the platform is to use
  • guidelines for joining
  • whether or not the group is moderated

Online eating disorder support groups can help those in recovery feel less alone.

“It’s incredibly powerful for individuals who are living with any form of mental health diagnosis to hear the words, ‘me too,’ from someone else,” says Dr. Caroline Fenkel, the co-founder of virtual mental health clinic Charlie Health. “In that way, support groups for those who are in recovery from eating disorders can be helpful.”

By allowing people to connect with each other from their homes, and anonymously if needed, these online groups provide a necessary platform for community and healing.

If you notice your eating patterns impact your day-to-day life, mood, happiness, or concentration over a long period of time, it may be time to seek professional help.

If you’re scared to gain weight or fear that you’re not eating or exercising enough, you may also want to consider talking to a mental health professional.

It’s especially important to see a doctor if you notice physical symptoms or engage in certain behaviors such as:

  • rapid weight loss
  • inability to pee
  • bingeing, vomiting, or purging
  • severe pain including in the belly
  • irregular heartbeat
  • fainting
  • protruding ribs or bones
  • missed periods for uterus-owners

What causes eating disorders?

The cause of an eating disorder can vary from person to person that can be influenced by multiple biological, social, and environmental factors.

Some common causes can include:

  • genetics
  • learned behaviors from family members or close friends
  • certain personality traits, like perfectionism
  • social pressures for the body to look a certain way

Are eating disorder support groups effective?

According to Fenkel, anyone experiencing an acute mental health crisis — which can sometimes present alongside eating disorders or in recovery from them — can benefit from a support group.

“Having shared experiences helps people feel less alone, like they’re part of a nonjudgmental community that can empathize with their journey,” she says.

Is an eating disorder support group right for you?

If you’re in recovery, an eating disorder support group can be a way to connect with others who are also healing.

However, for those with active eating disorders, Fenkel says that the style and level of care needed for treatment cannot be accomplished in a group setting.

“It’s important to meet with a licensed professional in order to know which issue needs to be treated first and how it should be treated,” she explains. “If an eating disorder isn’t properly treated, it can cause severe, potentially fatal side effects and long-term health consequences.”

Do eating disorder support groups cost money?

Some support groups require a fee or ask for a donation. Many are free.

Online eating disorder support groups can provide a safe space for those in recovery to share their feelings and everyday hardships. While these groups shouldn’t take the place of therapy or treatment, they can be a positive part of the recovery journey.

If you think you might have an eating disorder, get 24/7 support by contacting the National Eating Disorders Association.

Natasha Burton is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Livestrong, Woman’s Day, and many other lifestyle publications. She’s the author of What’s My Type?: 100+ Quizzes to Help You Find Yourself ― and Your Match!, 101 Quizzes for Couples, 101 Quizzes for BFFs, 101 Quizzes for Brides and Grooms, and the co-author of “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.” When she’s not writing, she’s fully immersed in #momlife with her toddler and preschooler.