Eating disorders can be incredibly dangerous, but a person’s chances of a safe recovery are higher if they get help in the early stages of the disease. Therefore, people must be able to recognize the signs of eating disorders. By noticing the symptoms of an eating disorder, you can ensure you or a loved one gets help as soon as possible. For more information about treatment for disordered eating, contact the Willows at Red Oak today at 855.773.0614.
Physical Symptoms of Eating Disorders
When most people picture an eating disorder, they assume its main symptom is drastic weight loss. This outward sign is possible, but not everyone with an eating disorder is underweight. A person may be at an average weight or overweight, and frequent fluctuations between weights may occur. The poor nutrition associated with eating disorders also leads to other symptoms. People may report feeling dizzy and cold all the time, and they may frequently become ill. Those with an eating disorder often have menstrual irregularities, anemia, low thyroid levels, and other health conditions. Lack of nutrition can lead to hair loss, dry skin, brittle nails, and cavities. These dangerous physical symptoms often mean that a person needs eating disorder treatment from a professional nutritionist.
Behavioral Signs of Eating Disorders
Since it is a mental illness, the majority of eating disorder symptoms tend to be behavioral. One of the leading behavioral issues is strange behavior surrounding food. People may become obsessed with certain foods, eat them every day, or suddenly express an aversion to specific foods. Many people develop food rituals, such as eating at certain times, only eating food in a particular bowl, or chewing food excessively. They are often secretive about eating and may have excuses for why they cannot eat in front of others.
Some people with an eating disorder will indeed display a preoccupation with weight. They may express concern about weight, have a fear of gaining weight, spend a lot of time performing body checks in front of a mirror, or wear baggy clothes to hide their body. Some may spend a lot of time browsing social media, looking at pictures of thin celebrities, or discussing weight loss with others.
People with eating disorders may also spend a lot of time talking about calories, carbohydrates, or fat content. However, for some, eating disorders may have little to do with concerns about losing weight. It is often a disorder linked to anxiety and depression. People with eating disorders may withdraw from friends and family, have extreme mood swings, or seem confused, distracted, and fatigued.
Symptoms Associated With Different Types of Disorders
In addition to the more general signs of disordered eating, certain types of eating disorders may present with other specific symptoms. Those with anorexia nervosa often compulsively exercise to get rid of any calories they are forced to consume. People who have bulimia nervosa may develop calluses on knuckles due to vomiting and dental problems due to stomach acid repeatedly coming in contact with teeth. Bulimia nervosa can also have signs like constant trips to the bathroom, unusually long showers, or secretive behavior following meals.
Those who have binge eating disorder have signs of large amounts of food being consumed at a time, such as a trash can that fills up with candy wrappers over a single evening. For those with avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, their eating habits may seem excessively picky.
Get Treatment at The Willows at Red Oak
The Willows provides the focused care people need while recovering from eating disorders. Our residential, female-only program involves a blend of clinical therapy, group sessions, and holistic therapies, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Yoga therapy
We can help unpack the underlying triggers of eating disorders and guide clients in building a healthier relationship with food. Contact the Willows at Red Oak today to schedule a consultation by calling 855.773.0614.