Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia are becoming more common. They mostly affect teenage girls and young women, but men and older women can also suffer from an eating disorder. Anyone with this medical/mental condition needs to be treated as early as possible to avoid serious health complications. Early detection and treatment can literally save lives.
There are certain signs and symptoms that can indicate if a person has an eating disorder. The most common are listed below. If you notice these in yourself or someone you know, chances are you or they need professional help. Talk to your parents, a health care professional, or an adult you trust to help you get a proper evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment if needed.
Physical signs and symptoms
- Noticeable weight loss (in anorexia nervosa)
- Weight fluctuations (in people with bulimia nervosa). The weight may fluctuate or be within the normal range.
- intolerance to cold. The person freezes easily.
- Frequently experiencing abdominal pain, constipation, heartburn and other digestive problems
- Dizziness and sometimes fainting
- Either lethargy or excess energy or alternating experiences of these two opposite states
- Menstrual irregularities
- Dental problems (such as tooth decay, tooth discoloration and tooth sensitivity)
- Dry skin, nails and hair. The person may also have thinning hair and brittle nails.
- Poor wound healing and immune function. She catches the flu and common infections easily.
- Swollen salivary glands (along the neck and jaw area)
- Dressing in layers or loose clothing to disguise weight loss (and also to stay warm)
- A preoccupation with weight loss and dieting. The person is very concerned about food choices and nutritional data (calories, fat content, etc.). She may refuse to eat certain types of foods, such as carbohydrates or fats, entirely.
- She frequently comments that she is fat or overweight, when it is obviously not true
- Frequently says she is not hungry, even during meals when she should be hungry
- Skipping meals or eating very little during meals
- Occasional binge eating (eating a large amount of food in a short amount of time)
- Wash. This is done by going to the bathroom, throwing up, or using laxatives and diuretics during or after meals.
- Unusual eating rituals, such as B. Excessive chewing, avoiding touching different foods on her plate, and only eating certain types of foods (e.g., only vegetables and salads)
- Excessive drinking of water or non-caloric beverages
- Hoarding food in unusual places
- Excessive training
- Frequently looking in the mirror to check their appearance
- Trouble sleeping or getting a good night’s sleep
Emotional signs and symptoms
- Fear of eating in public or uncomfortable eating with others
- Prefers to be alone and withdraws from friends and social events
- Has extreme mood swings
- Has an intense and unfounded fear of gaining weight
- Has a distorted image of her body
- May have low self-esteem
The presence of these signs and symptoms does not indicate with absolute certainty that the person is doing this have an eating disorder. Only a professional doctor can properly diagnose the condition, so it’s best to see one as soon as possible.
Thanks to Arthur Wilson