The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
is the oldest organization aimed at fighting eating disorders in the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
. ANAD assists people struggling with eating disorders such as Anorexia nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight. Although commonly called "anorexia", that term on its own denotes any symptomatic loss of appetite and is not strictly accurate...
and Bulimia nervosa
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating and purging or consuming a large amount of food in a short amount of time, followed by an attempt to rid oneself of the food consumed, usually by purging and/or by laxative, diuretics or excessive exercise. Bulimia nervosa is...
and also provides resources for families, schools and the eating disorder community. Headquartered in Naperville, Illinois
Naperville is a city in DuPage and Will Counties in Illinois in the United States, voted the second best place to live in the United States by Money Magazine in 2006. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 141,853. It is the fifth largest city in the state, behind Chicago,...
, ANAD is a non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...
working in the areas of support, awareness, advocacy, referral, education, and prevention. ANAD runs a 9-5 helpline and help email.
Activities have included successfully campaigning against pro-anorexia websites.
ANAD distributes its quarterly newsletter, Working Together
, to members, volunteers, clinicians, and provides an electronic copy on its website, www.anad.org, at no cost to the public.
ANAD's partners include Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, Linden Oaks Hospital, McCallum Place, Rader Programs, Rogers Memorial Hospital, and Timberline Knolls LLC. ANAD is a philanthropy of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority
Delta Phi Epsilon is an international sorority founded on March 17, 1917 at New York University Law School in New York City...
In the early 1970s, Vivian Hanson Meehan, ANAD’s president and founder, was a nurse at a hospital in Highland Park, Illinois. When a family member was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, Vivian was unable to find any information or resources on eating disorders. Support was unavailable. She was told by experts, “Anorexia Nervosa is so rare that there are probably no more than 2000 cases of Anorexia Nervosa in the United States - you are wasting your time.”
Vivian decided to do something simple to see if the experts were right: she placed a small classified ad in a local newspaper looking for others who were searching for information about Anorexia Nervosa. Within days that tiny ad generated 8 responses from those struggling with eating disorders and family members in her community. A national magazine picked up on the story and Vivian was deluged by thousands of phone calls and letters. She opened up her home and her heart and launched the first helpline and referral service in the nation for Anorexia Nervosa and associated eating disorders. The small support group Vivian founded in her home went on to establish groups across the nation. These groups continue to provide peer-to-peer support and self-help for the individuals and families affected by eating disorders and are available at no cost.
Vivian Hanson Meehan was born in Sanish, North Dakota, in 1925. She became a Registered Nurse (RN) after graduation from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. She was a supervisor of nurses and later director of the Department of Eating Disorders at Highland Park Hospital in Highland Park, IL.
Since its inception, ANAD has provided an open helpline, (630) 577-1330 from 9am - 5pm, central time. A help email is available and may be found on ANAD's website. Those who answer the phones and email offer support, encouragement and resources including referral to support groups, therapists and treatment centers.