How To Spot Signs Of An Eating Disorder: 7 Things To Watch For

The death rate for eating disorders 1is the greatest of any mental condition. The sooner an eating disorder is identified and treated, the higher the recovery prospects. 

We’re spotlighting hidden indications of eating disorders 2to encourage you or a loved one to seek assistance sooner.

Eating disorders are more common in girls and women, and they usually start during adolescence and early adulthood.

Although no one understands what causes eating disorders, they appear to be linked to psychological and physiological difficulties such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, emotional reactivity, and substance addiction.3

If you want to find an eating disorder treatment center, you can check into Ocean Recovery. Click to find out more.

Types Of Eating Disorders

Food obsession becomes a technique for some people to control one part of their lives. Although it may begin as simple overeating or undereating, the tendency can quickly spiral out of control and take over a person’s life.

Let’s check the common types of eating disorders4:

Bulimia Nervosa

Not everyone who suffers from an eating issue looks to be underweight.

Because most people with bulimia maintain average body weight or are only slightly overweight, it is often easy to conceal their symptoms.

They typically try to lose weight by vomiting, fasting or going without food for long periods.

Others misuse laxatives, believing that they will push calories out before digested or over-exercise to compensate for the binging.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is a little easier to spot because the symptoms of rapid weight loss are more prominent.

Some people with anorexia have severe body concerns, regularly commenting on how overweight they are, frequently weighing themselves, and obsessively checking their bodies in the mirror.

Its common signs include wearing layers to hide weight loss or stay warm, resisting or being unable to maintain a body weight appropriate for their age, height, and build.

They also try to maintain an excessive, rigid exercise regime, chewing a lot of gum or drinking large amounts of water, coffee, or calorie-free beverages.

Binge Eating Disorder

People with binge eating disorders have repeated episodes of consuming far more food than most people eat in identical circumstances.

Although most binge eating occurs when alone, there are several telltale symptoms.

Binge eating is a term used to describe when a person with bulimia consumes a considerable amount of food at one time.

Binge eaters eat when they aren’t hungry to keep emotions in check. They keep food hidden in places where it can’t be seen.

7 Signs Of An Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are a significant medical problem that, if left untreated, can have long-term health effects. However, because people with eating disorders frequently disguise their destructive behaviors, recognizing the indicators of an eating disorder, especially early on, can be challenging.

Find the top 7 signs of an eating disorder:

1: Obsessing Over Weight

Switching to highly restricted diets is common for persons with eating disorders, with some patients removing entire food groups.

A person may also switch diets regularly to attain faster outcomes.

Obsession with weight can lead to excessive self-consciousness about body size and shape and constant checking in the mirror for flaws in appearance.

If they write their feelings in mental health journals, the eating disorders don’t take such a drastic turn.

2: Uncomfortable Around Others And You

When eating in public, some persons with eating disorders feel self-conscious.

They may also skip meals or eat only tiny amounts of food when they eat.

Other meal rituals, such as chopping food into small pieces, chewing excessively, or using a lot of condiments, may indicate an eating disorder.

Some individuals may withdraw entirely from companions and activities when food is involved.

3: Mood Changes

You can look for a dramatic shift in mood when you have an eating disorder.

Random mood swings, difficulty concentrating, and restlessness are examples of this.

Anorexia sufferers frequently experience mood changes and anxiety, despair, perfectionism, and impulsivity. Hormonal imbalances or dietary shortages may be to blame for these traits.

4: General Weakness

With eating disorders, frequent signs of weakness from a lack of nutrition are common.

Dizziness, fainting, and muscle weakness are some of the symptoms. Immune dysfunction, anemia, and other signs of nutritional inadequacy are also common.

It’s vital to remember that their exhaustion could be linked to their eating problem or exacerbated by eating disorder consequences.

Fatigue can be induced by insufficient nutrition, which provides the body with the fuel it needs to function correctly in people with eating disorders.

5: Dental And Skin Issues

Enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth sensitivity are all frequent dental issues.

There may also be dry skin and hair, and brittle nails. Asteatotic, xerosis, follicular hyperkeratosis5, carotenoderma6, hyperpigmentation, acne, pruritus, and face dermatitis are all common skin manifestations in anorexia nervosa7.

Acne can also develop in patients recovering from anorexia. While some acne treatments entail restricting certain foods, omitting food groups can lead to anorexia relapse.

6: Stomach Pain

Stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal issues that aren’t specific may be typical of eating disorders. However, other problems, such as menstrual abnormalities, could also emerge.

Those suffering from eating disorders may experience various gastrointestinal symptoms, including discomfort, bloating, nausea, gas, constipation, and diarrhea, regardless of the diagnosis.

Food restrictions might interfere with normal stomach emptying and digestion of crucial nutrients, resulting in nausea, vomiting, bloating, or abdominal pain.

7: Sore Throat 

Patients who have lost a lot of weight or are severely underweight may have trouble swallowing.

When the esophagus is exposed to stomach acid and bile regularly, it gets raw and irritating, becoming inflamed or infected.

This disease can make the bulimic’s voice raspy and swallowing difficult, reducing fluid intake and the danger of dehydration.

Oropharyngeal dysphagia is a condition in which people have trouble transporting food, liquids, and even saliva from their mouth into their throat. This can cause coughing and choking while eating or drinking.


There you go. We have enlisted the common signs of an eating disorder. Although teenage girls can be subjected to this disease, many adult women and men also fall victim to eating disorders. So, if you want to know more about this disease, ping us in the comment box below.

  1. Polivy, Janet, and C. Peter Herman. “Causes of eating disorders.” Annual review of psychology 53.1 (2002): 187-213. ↩︎
  2. Ringer, Francoise, and Patricia McKinsey Crittenden. “Eating disorders and attachment: The effects of hidden family processes on eating disorders.” European Eating Disorders Review: The Professional Journal of the Eating Disorders Association 15.2 (2007): 119-130. ↩︎
  3. Zou, Zhiling, et al. “Definition of substance and non-substance addiction.” Substance and non-substance addiction (2017): 21-41. ↩︎
  4. Weinbach, Noam, Helene Sher, and Cara Bohon. “Differences in emotion regulation difficulties across types of eating disorders during adolescence.” Journal of abnormal child psychology 46 (2018): 1351-1358. ↩︎
  5. Freeman, Denise B. “Corns and calluses resulting from mechanical hyperkeratosis.” American family physician 65.11 (2002): 2277-2280. ↩︎
  6. Maharshak, Nitsan, Johnatan Shapiro, and Henri Trau. “Carotenoderma–a review of the current literature.” International journal of dermatology 42.3 (2003): 178-181. ↩︎
  7. Steinhausen, Hans-Christoph. “The outcome of anorexia nervosa in the 20th century.” American journal of Psychiatry 159.8 (2002): 1284-1293. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf


Icy Health Editorial Team

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