Catching an eating disorder early on can be key to treating and stopping it. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to see the signs of one forming. Warning signs of eating disorders can be psychological, physical, or behavioral. It can be especially hard to notice warning signs of eating disorders as the person with it might not know they have one, they might not want to stop, or they could be going to great lengths to keep it hidden.
Below are a few of the common signs and warnings of an eating disorder. If you or anyone you know is suffering from one contact one of Florida’s top psychiatrists for help.
Behavioral Warning Signs
Noticing changes in someone behavior can be a sign of an eating disorder, especially when it comes to eating. Repetitive dieting, binging, avoiding meals, or hoarding food is also signs of an eating disorder. Often times it starts with people refusing to eat certain food items, such as dairy or meats, and then progresses. If you notice someone developing eating rituals that they didn’t previously have, such as having to eat at a certain time or with a certain plate, can be a sign of an eating disorder. Behaviors immediately after eating are also important to notice. Trips to the bathroom after eating could mean purging is going on.
Changes in social behaviors are also signs of eating disorders. People who suffer from eating disorders tend to withdraw from friends and family in an attempt to hide it. They might also change their style of clothing, dressing in baggier clothes to hide their weight loss or over their misconception that they are fat.
Any major behavior shift in the way people sleep, eat, and socialize is a sign that something is wrong. Eating behaviors are what most people associate with eating disorders, but these mental illnesses can affect all behaviors. If you notice any of these signs reach out of advice and help on what to do next.
Physical Warning Signs
Rapid weight loss or weight gain is a major sign of an eating disorder. These can be hard to notice though as people with eating disorders will go to great lengths to hide it. People with weight loss might be sensitive to cold, even in extremely warm environments. For females, a disturbance of the menstrual cycle is another big warning sign.
Other physical warning signs are fainting, dizziness, and fatigue that comes from a lack of calories. For those that purge, swollen cheeks, calluses, and damaged teeth could be a sign of repetitive vomiting.
Physical warning signs might not be apparent at the beginning of an eating disorder. If you notice any of them you should seek help. Physical consequences of eating disorders can be severe and long lasting if not treated properly and quickly.
Psychological Warning Signs
Psychological warning signs can be some of the hardest to notice. Often they are subtle but if you know what to look for you can see them. An increased preoccupation with body shape, weight, or appearance is a big one. Fears of gaining weight are also a sign. Body images will often become distorted and people will have extremely negative perceptions of themselves. New sensitivity to comments about shape, weight, eating or exercise could be a sign of an eating disorder.
Other psychological signs may present themselves as other mental illnesses. People with eating disorders might be depressed of anxious. They tend to have low self-esteem. A feeling of being out of control, especially around food, is common too.
It is often psychological factors that drive people to develop eating disorders. Their loss of control with food mirrors their feeling of being out of control in other aspects of their life. Psychological consequences of eating disorders can be some of the hardest to get rid of.
Contact on a top Florida psychiatrist today if you have noticed any of these warning signs in someone you know or love. It’s never too late or early to get help.