What are the Symptoms of an Eating Disorder?

What are the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder? Eating disorders are serious and should not be ignored. If you think you or someone you love has an eating disorder please seek help right away.

There are many kinds of eating disorders and not all of them include a thin appearance. In fact a person can be overweight and still have an eating disorder.

While more girls and women suffer from eating disorders many boys and men get them too.

According to the DSM 5 Anorexia Nervosa is the refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height.  People with anorexia may have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though they may be underweight.

Symptoms of Anorexia include:

  • Dramatic weight loss not due to illness
  • Wearing large clothing to hide weight loss
  • Food restrictions
  • Refusal to eat
  • Obsession with counting calories
  • Obsession with burning off calories by working out
  • Feeling cold
  • Irregular or loss of menstrual cycle
  • Hair loss
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue

Bulimia is similar to Anorexia except the person usually binges on too much food and then feels the overwhelming need to get rid of the food through the use of laxatives or vomiting. Bulimics can be thin, average weight or overweight. Bulimia can be more difficult to diagnose because there the outward appearance is less dramatic than an anorexic and due to shame the person goes to great lengths to hide their illness.

Symptoms of Bulimia include:

  • Frequent episodes of eating large amounts of food
  • Leaving the table during a meal to purge
  • Hording food
  • Being secretive
  • Loss of control
  • Bloody nose
  • Dental problems

Binge Eating disorder is when you can’t seem to stop eating. Everyone occasionally overeats but a binge eater will frequently consume large amounts of foods, often in secret, without the ability to stop. A person with Binge Eating Disorder can be thin, average weight, overweight or obese.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder include:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food
  • Eating quickly
  • Eating in secret
  • Feeling out of control
  • Depression
  • Yo-Yo dieting

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms please seek medical help as soon as possible.

~ Anna Lamden LCPC

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