Which Eating Disorder Was Depicted in the American Dad show? 

In this blog, we will cover topics like the TV show American Dad, the representation of eating disorders in American Dad, the types of EDs, their signs & symptoms, causes of EDs, treatment of ED, and answer frequently asked questions.

Which Eating Disorder Was Depicted in the American Dad show? 

Stan is a character on the show ‘American Dad’ and he is portrayed as a person who suffers from anorexia which he realizes a little later on the show. 

The show American Dad is a quite famous show and has been running for a long time. = It is an adult animated show that was first broadcasted on Foxnbut later picked up by TBS.  American Dad was renewed for 20th and 21st seasons around December 2021. 

American Dad has discussed eating disorders in the Season 2 of the show and we will get to that but before we dive deep into the portrayal of eating disorders, let us understand eating disorders. 

What are eating disorders?

Although the term eating is in the name, eating disorders do not only revolve exclusively around food. They are like a multiplex of mental health adversities. Eating disorders are a group of psychological illnesses that lead to the development of poor eating habits.

They may begin with food, body weight, or body shape preoccupation. If left untreated, eating disorders can have serious health repercussions and even lead to death in extreme circumstances.

With that being said, let us look at the types of Eating disorders and their respective symptoms known to the experts.

Types of eating disorders

There are many different types of feeding and eating disorders, each with its own set of characteristics and diagnostic criteria. The following are the eating disorders that have been formally recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diseases (DSM-5), the standard reference for the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders used by mental health clinicians.

Anorexia Nervosa

The most well-known eating disorder is anorexia nervosa. It usually appears in youth or early adulthood, and it affects more women than men. Even if they’re dangerously underweight, people who suffer from anorexia believe they are overweight. They prefer to keep a close check on their weight, avoid certain foods, and reduce their calorie consumption to a minimum.

Binge eating disorder

Binge eating disorder is one of the most common eating disorders, especially in the United States. It usually begins around adolescence or early adulthood, but it can happen at any age. This disorder has symptoms that are similar to bulimia or the anorexia subtype of binge eating.

For example, during binges, people typically consume unusually large amounts of food in a short period of time and lose control. People with binge eating disorders do not restrict calories or use purging behaviors, such as vomiting or excessive exercise, to compensate for their binges.

Bulimia nervosa

Another well-known eating disorder is bulimia nervosa. Bulimia, like anorexia, tends to be more common in men than in women, and it usually arises between the ages of adolescence and early adulthood. Bulimia sufferers frequently consume significant quantities of food in a short period of time.

Typically, a binge eating experience lasts until the person is entirely satisfied. During a binge, the person is frequently unable to stop eating or control how much food they ingest. Binges can happen with any sort of food, but they’re most likely when someone eats foods they generally avoid.

Bulimics purge to compensate for the calories they’ve consumed and to relieve stomach pain. Forced vomiting, fasting, laxatives, diuretics, enemas, and excessive urination are all examples of purging practices.


It is another eating disorder that involves eating things that are not considered by another individual. People with Pica yearn to eat things, such as ice, dirt, soil, chalk, paper, hair, cloth, wool, pebbles, laundry detergent, etc.

Pica can occur in kids, adolescents and even adults. A person with pica usually is at a heightened risk of poisoning, infections, gut injuries, and nutrition deficiency. Depending on the components consumed, this disorder may cause death.

Causes of EDs

The exact reasons that may lead to the development of eating and feeding disorders are not known. There may be many causes like that of other mental illnesses, such as: Genetics and biology and/or psychological or emotional health. 

However,  the risk factors include family history; that is, the eating disorder is likely to occur if someone in the family is suffering or previously suffered from any eating disorders. 

People who have other mental health conditions are also at the risk of developing eating disorders, especially people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Other risk factors include feelings of stress, guilt, and failure in important life events. 

Representation of Eating disorder in American Dad

American Dad is an American adult animated sitcom/tv show curated by Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker, and Matt Weitzman that broadcasted on TBS. 

In one of its episodes, ‘American Dad After School Special, Stan, a character with a strong presence in the show, calls out Steve’s, his son’s, new girlfriend’s body. He throws labels like ‘fat chick’ and later realizes about his own shape that consequently made him anorexic (someone with anorexia nervosa is sometimes referred to as anorexic)

This show targeted real-world issues and it’s a bit disappointing that it’s not praised in the amount necessary. The graphics where Stan was shown to be hanging by a skeleton strongly depicted the reality and how anorexics feel with the eyes that stare towards them. 

Not in a hilarious way, but this episode did leave an impact on the various, thus highlighting and spreading awareness about health issues like eating disorders. 

Treatment of EDs

People with eating problems who receive treatment generally recover and go on to enjoy healthy lives. It’s better to recognize it early rather than face its shortcomings.

There are different levels of care associated with an eating disorders that are as follows:

  • Outpatient therapy
  • Intensive outpatient therapy
  • Inpatient therapy

Your doctor will get to know you and your symptoms in order to give you the right kind of treatment. People with eating problems can develop life-threatening complications if they are not addressed in time. 


Some people even need to shift to hospitals and emergency care rooms.Eating disorders are a serious problem that can have a negative impact on your emotional and physical health. 

Don’t be embarrassed to get treatment if you believe you have an eating disorder.Eating disorders are a serious problem that can have a negative impact on your emotional and physical health. Don’t be embarrassed to get treatment if you believe you have an eating disorder.

Millions of people around the world are suffering from this disorder and you are not alone if you face the same. Always be aware enough about your health and reach out for help before things go downhill.


There are no drugs that can cure an eating disorder. However, certain types of medications can help you control the urge to binge or purge, or manage over-preoccupying thoughts with food and nutrition. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs can help with the depression and anxiety symptoms that frequently accompany feeding and eating problems.


Psychotherapy is an integral part of treatment for eating and feeding-related issues as it helps in addressing the root beliefs and perceptions about one’s body and gradually works on cognitive restructuring and helping a person view their body and their eating habits from different perspectives. 

It also helps in developing healthier eating habits and working on taking care of one’s mental health and exploring other issues they might be facing. 

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.


We discussed what eating disorders are, types and symptoms of eating disorders, representation of eating disorders in the American Dad show, and all about the holistic treatment of eating disorders 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Which Eating Disorder Was Depicted in the American Dad show? 

What episode of American Dad does Stan have an eating disorder?

In one of its episodes titled ‘American Dad After School Special’, Stan, a character with a strong presence in the show, calls out Steve’s, his son’s, new girlfriend’s body. He throws labels like ‘fat chick’ and later realizes about his own shape that consequently made him anorexic.  

What is the funniest episode of American Dad?

Here are a few episodes that we found comical :

  • Rapture’s Delight (Season 5, Episode 9) 
  • Cops and Roger (Season 5, Episode 14) 
  • Lost in Space (Season 8, Episode 18) 
  • Blood Crieth Unto Heaven (Season 8, Episode 10)

Is American Dad Canceled 2021?

In 2020, TBS renewed seasons 18th and 19th and in 2021, the series was moved forward with 20 and 21st seasons.

Is American Dad a copy of Family Guy?

Both of the abovementioned shows are created by Seth McFarlane and that is why they seem to have a bit of a similar touch. 

What’s the most serious eating disorder?

While all the types of eating disorders are severe in their own cases, Anorexia seems to have a higher negative impact on a person’s life. 

Why would someone have an eating disorder?

Our mental and physical health disturbances both determine the likelihood of afflicting this disorder. Mental trauma like body shaming, rape etc along with genetics and biology increase the risk of developing eating disorders.



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