Recognizing that someone is battling with an eating disorder is not always easy.
Signs of an eating disorder, such as Anorexia or Bulimia, are confusing and often misinterpreted.
And frequently, the person suffering from these eating issues is trying to hide the signs from close friends and family.
However, recognizing these signs earlier (rather than later) could help lead someone to treatment and Recovery from their eating disorder quicker – and could possibly save their life!
It could also help to minimize the destructive impact of the eating disorder on a person’s mind, body, and relationships.
Here are some signs to look for:
The following signs indicate that someone may be suffering from an eating disorder, especially when the behaviors are recent and several occur together.
- Weight loss: extreme thinness or severe loss of weight; is exhilarated by weight loss.
- Intense fear of being overweight: preoccupied with thinness, wants to be thinner than peers, complains of being overweight when not, obsessed with clothing size, scales, and mirrors.
- Preoccupation with dieting and food: uses diet products, talks constantly about food, calories, fat grams, reads a lot about nutrition, dieting, and exercise.
- Eating little: skips meals, eats very little, is finicky about food, appears to eat when not–e.g., pushes food around on a plate but mostly does not eat it.
- Unusual eating habits: eats one thing at a time, eats the same thing every day, cuts food into tiny pieces, fears touching certain foods, sudden vegetarianism, refuses to eat with others.
- Bathroom breaks: disappears into the bathroom during or after meals–may suggest vomiting to purge calories.
- Taking up smoking: especially for someone who would not be expected to smoke.
- Caffeine use: excessive drinking of diet caffeinated beverages or regular coffee without sugar.
- Evidence of binge eating: a lot of empty food packages may suggest bingeing.
- Empty laxative packages: herbal or otherwise, may suggest purging.
- Onset of hyperactivity: constantly fidgets, lots of exercise.
- Loss of menstrual period: irregular, minimal, or absent menses.
- Intolerance of cold: shivering, blue skin or fingers.
- Baggy or full-covering clothes: wears baggy clothes or long sleeves, pants and coats during summer months–used to hide excessive thinness, or to disguise body shape if uncomfortable with appearance; May indicate body image problems.
- Skin and hair problems: pasty-looking skin, very thin and dry hair, hair loss and fine hair growth on the face and arms like a baby–all indicate malnourishment.
- Swollen salivary glands: distended, “chipmunk” look.
- Broken blood vessels: in the eyes.
- Change in mood: anxiety, depression, irritability, increased obsessions and compulsions.
- Social withdrawal: isolates from peers and family, unwilling to eat with other people.
- Perfectionism and low self-esteem: expects too much of self and sees self as not good enough.
Need To Get Help For An Eating Disorder?
If you are searching for Anorexia treatment, treatment for Bulimia or treatment for other types of eating disorders, please contact us at Canopy Cove.
We focus on complete recovery for our clients. We would be honored to help you as well.