Eating Disorder Warning Signs

Almost everyone in our society is concerned with weight in some way or another. This makes it difficult to tell whether someone’s behavior surrounding food and weight is normal or not. People with eating disorders may not show signs in the earliest stages of the illness. If you are concerned about yourself or someone in your life, we’re here to educate you about the warning signs of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

Anorexia warning signs:

  • Perfectionism, an obsession with control and a display of compulsive habits
  • Skipping meals, eating tiny portions, won’t eat in front of others, eats in ritualistic ways, chews food but spit it out before swallowing and creates strange food combination
  • Always has an excuse not to eat
  • Becomes disgusted with formerly favorite foods
  • Only eats “safe” foods
  • Boasts about healthy diet
  • Claims to be “vegetarian” but will not eat necessary nutrients required by vegetarianism
  • Drastically reduces fat intake and reads food labels obsessively
  • Obsession with exercise and checking weight
  • Might abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Consistent self-criticism, use of the word “fat”
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Always wears baggy clothing

Bulimia warning signs:

  • Impulsive, volatile and risky behavior
  • Vomits after breaking the self-imposed rigid eating rules
  • Abuses laxatives, diet pills or water pills
  • Obsessively uses natural products from health food stores to promote weight loss
  • Might abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Leaves behind clues of purging like foul smelling bathrooms, running water to cover up vomiting sounds and excessively uses mouthwash and mints
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Hypertensive [high blood pressure}
  • Sore throat, dental erosions, esophagitis and electrolyte imbalance all due to vomiting

Binge eating warning signs:

  • Sets restrictive diet rules and then binges when hungry
  • Eats in secret
  • Buys special food for binging
  • Eating rapidly
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Feelings of guilt related to overeating
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Weight gain
  • Hiding food in strange places
  • Fatigue

If you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of bulimia, anorexia or binge eating disorder, you should not wait to seek counseling, diagnosis and treatment. Eating disorders are extremely dangerous and should be treated as such. Untreated eating disorders can lead to problems like osteoporosis, slow heart rate, kidney failure, muscle loss, gastric rupture, ulcers, high blood pressure, diabetes and other serious problems. Visiting a licensed therapist who specializes in eating disorders will help you develop a positive body image and reestablish a healthy relationship with food.

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