Some Tips For Recognizing The Signs Of An Eating Disorder In A Loved One

Some Tips For Recognizing The Signs Of An Eating Disorder In A Loved One

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that can affect anyone. But, they’re often misunderstood and stigmatized. This makes it difficult for people with eating disorders to get the help they need — especially in an emergency situation.

If you suspect someone you care about has an eating disorder, it’s important to know what to do next. Here are some tips for recognizing the signs of an eating disorder:

  • A distorted body image. People with eating disorders often have a distorted or unrealistic view of their bodies and weight. They may see themselves as too fat even when they’re dangerously thin. Eating disorders are not about vanity but about control over food and weight.
  • Unusual eating habits or food rituals. People with eating disorders often have rituals around food — such as only eating specific foods at certain times of day or cutting up food into tiny pieces before eating it — that aren’t normal for them or others their age. They might also hide their symptoms from others by pretending they don’t have a problem with food at all.
  • Changes in behavior, school performance, moods, energy level and/or sleep patterns since becoming fixated on food, weight gain or loss. If someone who used to eat normally starts skipping meals, binges on certain foods, avoids social situations where food is.
  • Weight loss with no apparent reason. People who have anorexia nervosa often think they’re overweight when they’re actually underweight. As a result, they restrict calories excessively and lose more weight than is healthy for them — sometimes so much that it becomes life threatening. People who suffer from bulimia may also lose weight.
  • Strong feelings of guilt after eating certain foods. Thoughts like “I can’t believe I ate that,” “I’m so bad” or “I feel so guilty” are common among people with eating disorders. The realization that they’ve eaten something forbidden may trigger a relapse in some people.

Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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