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What are the Signs of an Eating Disorder to Look Out For?

  • Posted at Dec 29, 2022
  • Written by Rebecca
What are the Signs of an Eating Disorder to Look Out For?

Eating disorders are mental health illnesses that affect a person’s eating behaviors and patterns. They are brought on by impaired thoughts about one’s own body image, weight, and self-confidence. Eating disorders can lead to serious health consequences and even death, so they are extremely dangerous. Fortunately, treatment can help people living with eating disorders establish healthy eating behaviors and thought patterns. But, earlier detection of eating disorders is crucial to getting help and avoiding lifelong consequences. So, what are the signs of an eating disorder that you should be looking out for and identifying in order to get help?

Some of the most common signs of eating disorders can include:

Hiding Food and Storing Food in Unapparent Places

Some eating disorders, like binge eating disorder (BED), can be identified by specific characteristics. One of the most common signs of BED is hiding food, especially in places that are unapparent. People living with this specific eating disorder may not want others to know that they are bingeing food when these episodes occur. So, they’ll hide food and store it in places that others may not think to look. This allows them to binge eat when they’re alone and when overwhelming feelings arise. Binge eating for someone with this eating disorder may be a means to cope with unwanted thoughts and feelings that they are ashamed to share with others. So, having hidden foods can allow them to use this food when these unwanted thoughts and feelings arise.

Avoiding Eating With and Around Other People

Avoidance behaviors surrounding eating can indicate an eating disorder. This includes avoiding eating meals around other people. This has to do with how a characteristic of eating disorders is struggling with self-confidence and self-image. So, people who are living with eating disorders may not feel comfortable eating in front of other people for fear of judgment. They may even avoid going to events or holiday gatherings if there will be food available to them.

Losing Weight or Gaining Weight in Short Amounts of Time

People living with eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder may experience severe weight fluctuations. This is due to cutting out complete food groups or binging large amounts of food over short periods of time. So, if you notice that you or a loved one is consistently losing or gaining weight, this may be a sign of an eating disorder.

Obsessing Over Losing or Gaining Weight

People living with eating disorders can obsess over the fact that they want to lose weight. This is because they struggle with body image issues. For example, people living with anorexia may not think that they’re thin even though they are underweight. So, they will obsess over ways to lose weight and use extreme methods including over-exercising, counting calories, going on fad diets, using laxatives, etc. So, if you’re doing these things in order to lose weight, this may be a sign that you’re struggling with an eating disorder.

Help for Young People Living With Eating Disorders

While any demographic of people can struggle with eating disorders, they’re most common in young adults. Yellowbrick offers mental health services, including eating disorder treatment, for young adults living with eating disorders in the Chicago area. Find out more about how we can help by reading more about our programs and services on our website.

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