Warning Signs & Symptoms Of An Eating Disorder

An eating disorder is a mental illness that involves abnormal eating, whether not eating at all, binging and purging, or overeating. Eating disorders impact a person’s mental and physical health negatively. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, over 30 million Americans have some sort of eating disorder. It affects people of all ages, sizes, and race, and can be heritable. Every 62 minutes someone dies from a result of an eating disorder, making it the highest death rate among mental illnesses. People may display a combination of symptoms, or only one

Eating disorders affect millions of Americans. Knowing and spotting the symptoms and signs can help you seek help before it worsens.
Eating disorders affect millions of Americans. Knowing and spotting the symptoms and signs can help you seek help before it worsens.

symptom, while some people may not show any signs at all. Find out the warning signs and symptoms of an eating disorder so you can get the proper help for yourself or a loved one before it worsens, possibly leading to death.

Anyone can develop an eating disorder, including children. Kids are 7-12 times more likely to develop an eating disorder if a parent, sibling, or relative has an eating disorder. Other stressors such as bullying, and chronic illnesses make people more at risk. Eating disorders not only make a person deficient nutritionally, but it can bring on depression and anxiety. Sometimes an eating disorder can disguise itself as other things. So what are the signs of an eating disorder?

Signs of Eating Disorder

The earlier you detect the signs, then the higher your chance is of treating the disorder. Signs to look for are:

Physical Signs

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Not sleeping well
  • Low energy
  • Feeling cold all the time, even when it is warm out
  • Stomach cramps (constipation, acid reflux, etc.)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dry skin
  • Dental issues such as erosion, cavities and tooth sensitivity
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Disturbance or loss of menstrual cycle in women
  • Decreased libido in men
  • Wounds take longer to heal

Psychological/behavioral Signs

  • Expressing excessive body dissatisfaction
  • Dressing in layers or baggy clothes to hide weight loss
  • Preoccupied with eating food, weight, calories, and dieting

    One of the signs of an eating disorder is the constant need to exercise.
    One of the signs of an eating disorder is the constant need to exercise.
  • Feeling irritable around meal time, or denies feeling hungry
  • Using food for comfort
  • Using food as a punishment
  • Vomiting frequently
  • Using laxatives, enemea, diuretics, and appetite suppressants
  • Compulsive need to exercise
  • Comments a lot about feeling fat
  • Binge eating
  • Eating in private
  • A need for control
  • Obsessive rituals with food such as eating slow, and cutting food into small pieces

While a lot of these signs may seem normal, it is something to consider if you or someone you know exhibits one or more of the mentioned signs. If so, seek medical and professional help for yourself or a loved one. If you have an instinctive “gut” feeling that someone might have an eating disorder, then chances are you are probably right. Follow your instincts and seek help. The quicker you recognize the signs of an eating disorder, the more success you have of treating it.

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