Do you know any person who has an unhealthy relationship with food or a friend who has irregular eating habits and severe concern about body shape or weight? If you do, that someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder. An eating disorder involves eating troubles which consists of excessive or inadequate intake of food that affects the well-being of an individual. To better understand this concept, below are 4 different types of eating disorders and the signs to watch for:
- Anorexia Nervosa Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss caused by too much diet and exercising, to the point of imposing oneself to starvation. People with anorexia nervosa usually feel that they’re still fat despite extreme weight loss. If you know someone you love who may be dealing with this type of eating disorder, watch out for these signs of anorexia nervosa:
- Specific eating rituals including cutting food into pieces or spitting it out after chewing.
- Complaints about being fat as reasons they refuse to eat and at the same time deny that they’re hungry even though they’re starving (to death);
- Obsessions with their body size and shape to the point of having difficulties concentrating on things;
- Continually weighing food and eating only what is considered safe such as food with low calories and fat.
- Frequent weighing of themselves and checking their body appearance in the mirror for ‘flaws’.
- Making excuses for not eating and usually skipping meals.
- Lacking emotions or having a flat mood.
- Bulimia Nervosa Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder associated with extreme overeating which is followed by purging or other related behaviors to compensate the overeating. It’s also an eating condition that causes the person to lose control of eating. If your friend or someone important to you may be suffering from bulimia nervosa, below are signs you can look out for:
- Exercising excessively and / or using laxatives;
- Experiencing anxiety, depression, and social isolation;
- Self-stimulated vomiting and frequent bathroom trips;
- Eating in secret and eating to the point of experiencing discomfort and pain;
- Constantly on a diet but hiding food.
- Evidence of wearing loose clothes to hide their body;
- Abnormal bowel functioning and menstrual irregularities (for women);
- Having a distorted and overly negative body image.
- Binge Eating Disorder Binge eating disorder is described as having consistent periods of excessive overeating. Similar to bulimia nervosa, it’s linked to having feelings of a loss of control about eating. If you’re concerned with someone who may have a binge eating disorder, look out for these signs:
- Hoarding food or hiding food containers and frequently eating alone;
- Continuously dieting without weight loss;
- Consumption of large amounts of food even if they’re full;
- Lacking in control when they begin to eat;
- Feelings of anxiety, depression, grief, shame and self-hatred regarding their eating behaviours.
Hopefully you may have a greater idea about the different types of eating disorders and the signs to watch for. These eating disorders may be serious, especially if they’re unnoticed and taken for granted. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are conditions which, if remain untreated, can cause severe health complications including death. That’s why it’s important to consider the signs, as mentioned above, to address the effects of these disorders on your loved one’s emotional, psychological and physical well-being.
If you think that someone you know has an eating disorder, it’s best if you have them seek professional help. Our Psychologists and Counsellors at Life Resolutions, for example, provide counselling services for those with eating disorders. Do you know someone with an eating disorder? Call us today.