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Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders

By Senior Editor
Food Pyramid -

There are several signs and symptoms of eating disorders, and it is a good idea to become familiar with these signs if you suspect that someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder. Keep in mind that the symptoms of eating disorders may vary slightly from one person to the next, but there are usually a few telling signs that are easy to locate if you are watching for them.

 Symptoms of Eating Disorders: Anorexia

Here is a list of common eating disorder symptoms that occur when a person has anorexia:

  • Negative self-image
  • Thin appearance
  • Lack of energy
  • Limited public eating
  • Skipping meals
  • Food rituals
  • Food obsession
  • Excessive exercising
  • Dehydration
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Dizziness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Wearing baggy clothing

Symptoms of Eating Disorders: Bulimia

Here is a list of common eating disorder symptoms that occur when a person has bulimia:

  • Excessive eating
  • Eating lots of junk food without gaining weight
  • Frequent visits to the bathroom during or after meals
  • Negative body image
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Mouth sores
  • Damaged teeth
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Non-stop dieting

Recognizing the Symptoms in Family or Friends

If you suspect that a loved one has the symptoms of eating disorders, it is a good idea to monitor their behavior for awhile in order to determine if the symptoms are actually present. You may also try talking with the person to see if they will open up to you, but it is common for them to deny their condition.

Often, they will be trying to cover up their symptoms of eating disorders. For example, if a person is bulimic, they may hide their binge food so that no one knows when they are binging. Many bulimics are even aware of the empty wrappers, and they will discard the wrappers in a discreet way to not alert anyone of the food consumption.

After observing for awhile, it is a good idea to open up to the person and let them know that you are concerned and want to help. Offering them a listening ear may help them to understand the symptoms of eating disorders, which in turn may lead to a visit to the doctor for help. If they are a child and they are denying treatment, then the parents may consider talking with a qualified health professional to get a referral for a mental health doctor.

There are treatment options available for the symptoms of eating disorders. It is important that the person begins a treatment plan as soon as possible in order to avoid permanent damage to their health. Allowing the eating disorder to continue may result in serious damage to the major organs and the digestive system.

 

 

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