Eating Disorder Warning Signs
Do you think someone you know has an eating
disorder? Perhaps a family member or friend? Donít be uninformed.
- Eating disorder do affect American Indians-especially young
females in urban settings.
- Compulsive Overeating is the leading Eating Disorder among
- Eating disorders can be one of the most troubling
- Be familiar with the warning signs.
- Remember early professional intervention from a health care
provider experienced in treating eating disorders holds the best hope for
What Are Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are extreme expressions of a range of weight
and food issues experienced by both men and women. They include anorexia
nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and compulsive overeating. All are serious emotional
problems that can have life-threatening consequences.
Technically speaking, the "eating" in eating disorder
refers to a set of eating habits, weight management practices and attitudes
about weight and body shape. The "disorder" means that the
eating-related attitudes and behaviors result in (a) loss of self-control and
other forms of behavioral inefficiency, (b) obsession, anxiety, guilt, and
other forms of misery, (c) alienation from self and others, and (d)
physiological imbalances which are potentially life-threatening.
What Causes an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders arise from a combination of long-standing
psychological, interpersonal, and social conditions. Feelings of inadequacy,
depression, anxiety, and loneliness, as well as troubled family and personal
relationships, may contribute the development of an eating disorder. Our
culture, with its unrelenting idealization of thinness and the "perfect
body," is often a contributing factor.
Once started, eating disorders may become self-perpetuating.
Dieting, bingeing, and purging help some people to cope with painful emotions
and to feel as if they are in control of their lives. Yet, at the same time,
these behaviors undermine physical health, self-esteem, and a sense of
competence and control.
What are the Warning Signs?
- A marked increase or decrease in weight not related to a
- The development of abnormal eating habits such as severe
dieting, preference for strange foods, withdrawn or ritualized behavior at
mealtime, or secretive bingeing.
- An intense preoccupation with weight and body image.
- Compulsive or excessive exercising.
- Self-induced vomiting, periods of fasting, or laxative,
diet pill, or diuretic abuse.
- Feelings of isolation, depression, or irritability.
Source: Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention
Anorexia Nervosa Warning Signs
- Loss of a significant amount of weight
- Continuing to diet when thin
- Feeling fat, even after losing weight
- Intense fear of weight gain
- Loss of monthly menstrual periods
- Preoccupation with food, calories, fat content and
- Preferring to diet in isolation
- Cooking for others, but not eating the food
- Hair loss
- Cold hands and feet
- Fainting spells
- Exercising compulsively
- Lying about food
- Depression, anxiety
- Weakness, exhaustion
- Periods of hyperactivity
- Heart tremors
- Dry, brittle skin
- Shortness of breath
Bulimia Warning Signs
- Eating uncontrollably
- Purging by strict dieting, fasting, vigorous exercise or
- Abusing laxatives or diuretics
- Using the bathroom frequently after meals
- Preoccupation with body weight
- Mood swings
- Feeling out of control
- Swollen glands in neck and face
- Irregular periods
- Dental problems
- Sore throat
- Vomiting blood
- Weakness, exhaustion
- Bloodshot eyes
Binge Eating Disorder Warning Signs