According the National Eating Disorders Association, 30 million Americans will have an eating disorder in their lives.
Warning Signs/SYMPTOMS ⚠︎︎
Symptoms of eating disorders can be different for every person. Below are some potential signs. Most Common Eating Disorders - DSM Criteria
BMI less than 18.5
Binge/Purge & Restrictive subtype
Weight related anxiety
Intense fear of weight gain
No such thing as “too thin”
Distorted body image
Preoccupation with appearance and body parts
No BMI requirement
Characterized by extreme weight loss
Binges -consuming a large amount of food in 2 hour period
1 per week for 3 months or more
Vomiting | Laxatives | Extreme exercise
Extreme preoccupation with body image
Low self esteem due to body image
Binge Eating Disorder
1 per week for 3 months
Binges CAN include:
Eating until over full
Other common symptoms/signs:
Obsession with food, weight, and/or body shape
Stomach cramps or constipation
Difficult to concentrate
Irregular body temperature (too cold or too hot)
Irregular sleep pattern
Cuts across the top of finger joints
Vomiting food after meals
Excessive weight loss or gain
Fearful of gaining weight
Some may be at higher risk of having an eating disorder if they have experienced any of the following:
Having a family member with an eating disorder
Family/cultural influence (Family Systems Hypothesis)
High stress levels
Having another mental illness (like OCD)
How to Help
Immediate danger: Call 911
If you know someone with an eating disorder:
Educate yourself on the types: Anorexia nervosa (fear of being overweight), Pica (eating non-nutritive items) Bulimia nervosa (binging then purging of the food), Binge eating (repeatedly having short periods of eating large amounts of food), Rumination (regurgitation of food after meals), & more.
Remind them of why their goal is getting better.
Understand what they are going through is difficult & be there to support them.
Encourage them to seek treatment from a professional (both mental & physical treatment)
Be patient with them.
Offer to listen.
Don't say things like, "Just stop/start eating normal!"
If you have an eating disorder:
Remind yourself how strong you are & that your illness does not make you weak.
Seek treatment from a doctor/therapist.
Reach out for support.
Listen to your feelings & body.
Learn to love & accept yourself.
Tell friends/family what you need.
Remind yourself that healing takes time.
Join a support group (ask your doctor for a referral).
Cope with emotional pain in more positive ways like talking to a friend, going on a walk, and other activities that make you happy.