National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) is the oldest organization aimed at fighting eating disorders in the United States. ANAD assists people struggling with eating disorders such as Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa and also provides resources for families, schools and the eating disorder community. Headquartered in Naperville, Illinois, ANAD is a non-profit organization working in the areas of support, awareness, advocacy, referral, education, and prevention. ANAD runs a 9-5 helpline and help email.
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 Residential Treatment Center. ANAD is a philanthropy of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority.
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.
- Lucy Atkins (July 23, 2002). "'It's better to be thin and dead than fat and living'". The Guardian.
- "'ANAD History'". 2010.