For Families & Friends

Families and friends are essential assets in the treatment of eating disorders. People who have recovered from eating disorders report that “relationships” and the support of loved ones is one of the key factors that helped them recover.

The Center for Eating Disorders believes that parent involvement in the treatment of children and teens with eating disorders can significantly improve treatment effectiveness and protect against relapse. Thus, whenever possible we encourage families to work as part of the treatment team. We use the principles of Family Based Therapy (FBT) to coach parents and loved ones on how to support their child or adolescent’s refeeding and eating normalization.

We believe in the healing power of relationships for clients of all ages. In the treatment of older adolescents and adult patients we seek the supportive involvement of families, significant others/spouses, and close friends.

If you have a loved one with an eating disorder, our staff can assist you in effective ways to intervene to help her/him get specialized eating disorder treatment. We can also direct you to support and education resources you may help you better understand eating disorders and the recovery process.

Call 734-668-8585 or email for more information. 

Advocacy and Action

Sign on in support of

Get involved in eating disorders prevention and awareness advocacy initiatives on a national and international level.

Join CED in promoting the Academy for Eating Disorders Worldwide Charter for Action on Eating Disorders. Pick up a copy of at the Charter at CED!

Join the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) to advance the recognition of eating disorders as a federal public health priority. 

Join Us!

Join us on Facebook and Twitter. Become a fan of the Center and support our efforts to promote eating disorders awareness.

To become a member of the Center for Eating Disorders, mail your tax-deductible donation of $15 (student), $24 (regular), or $50 (professional) to C.E.D., 111 North First Street, Suite 2, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104. Please include your name, address and email.

We will add you to our mailing list to notify you of any upcoming events or new programs. Your membership dues help CED continue to provide comprehensive education, treatment, and prevention programs in our community.

Got Guilt?

Parents tend to feel guilty, blamed, and ashamed when their child is diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders. These feelings, though natural, often prevent parents from taking decisive action to help their children recover. Sometimes the blaming is self-driven and sometimes it is generated by media messages, the remarks of well-meaning family members and friends and even comments by health care professionals.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health eating disorders are not caused by stubbornness or a failure of will; rather they are treatable medical illnesses triggered by neurobiological, psychological, and environmental influences. Certainly highly destructive family/marital patterns can contribute to the development of stress-related coping mechanisms, like eating disorders, in children. However, eating disorders can also develop in loving, well-functioning families. Parents and families can however, provide an important and positive influence on the recovery process.

As a gift to parents who feel blamed, ashamed, or guilty, Laura Collins, mother of a young woman with an eating disorder and author of Eating With Your Anorexic, produced a short video that includes excerpts from interviews with eating disorder experts to help families realize they are not to blame. To view Laura’s video Do Parents Cause Eating Disorders? The Experts Speak visit the Academy for Eating Disorders website at

Seeking Help

If you suspect your child, friend, or loved one has an eating disorder it is important to intervene as soon as possible. The first step is to schedule an evaluation with a trained eating disorder treatment specialist---a physician, psychotherapist, or nutritionist or treatment program. To schedule an assessment at our Center call 734-668-8585 or email

Sign on to Support Patient/Family Bill of Rights!

The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), with input from over 1700 professionals, family members, and patients from 46 countries, created the AED World Wide Charter for Action on Eating Disorders, a bill of rights for people with eating disorders and their families. The Charter defines the rights and expectations that people with eating disorders and their families can seek from those responsible for health policies and practices worldwide. The goal is to form a united coalition that can persuade policy makers around the globe to commit to the actions set forth in the Charter. To view a copy of the charter or to sign on in support of the charter go to

Introducing a New Treatment Advocacy Tool Kit provides a comprehensive tool kit for patients and their families or loved ones, the public, health professionals and those who advocate on behalf of individuals with eating disorders to ensure their access to appropriate insurance coverage for the treatment that is required.

Other valuable resources for families and friends:

Join our networks

Join the Center for Eating Disorders on Facebook and Twitter for program updates and news from the field.

make a donation

Give today to support eating disorders treatment, education, and support services in our community. The Center for Eating Disorders is a 501(c )(3) organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

Book Corner

The Center partners with Gürze Books (, to offer you the widest selection of books and other resources on eating disorder recovery available.

Our featured title is:
Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders
by Aimee Liu