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Warning Signs

In this day and age where everyone seems to put an exaggerated influence on weight and shape it can be extremely difficult to recognize with certainty the visible signs of an eating disorder. In the following sections we will outline some general indicators as well as indicators specific to different disorders.

General Warning Signs

  • Severe self-criticism
  • Depressed mood
  • Belief that only worthwhile when thin
  • Preoccupation with weight, shape and dieting

Warning Signs Specific to Anorexia

  • Sudden and drastic weight loss that is not otherwise explainable, (i.e. not due to illness or surgery)
  • Irregular or absent periods
  • The development of narrow, weird food preferences
  • The development of abnormal rituals surrounding food and meal times
  • Refusal to eat in front of others
  • Cooking eagerly for others while refusing themselves to eat prepared food
  • Overdoing exercise and showing signs of anxiety when a workout is interrupted or missed
  • Always feeling cold, even in warm weather
  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide body

Warning Signs specific to Bulimia

  • Binge eating; It is usually done in secret but evidence may present itself in the form of missing food or empty containers.
  • Finding excuses to leave the table after meal
  • Signs of vomiting in bathroom
  • Evidence of excessive laxative or diuretic use
  • Chipmunk-cheeks, repeated vomiting causes glands around the jaw to swell.
  • Pattern of weight fluctuations that are usually in the ten to twenty pound range
  • Excessive exercise
  • Burst blood vessels in eyes

Specific to Binge Eating Disorder

  • Binge eating. It is usually done in secret but evidence may present itself in the form of missing food or empty containers.
  • Succession of various dieting attempts
  • Pattern of weight fluctuations