Warning Signs for Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are a serious and complicated disturbance in eating behavior and create intense distress about body image, weight and self-esteem. There are several types of eating disorders including Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED). In addition, individuals experiencing body dysmorphia, orthorexia, and exercise addiction will also present with symptoms. Eating disorders affect people of any age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity and class. Often, the eating disorder problems go unnoticed for some time and it is also possible for the eating behaviors to change over time.

An individual with an eating disorder will have some of the signs and symptoms below; however, symptoms vary across eating disorders. This list is intended as a general overview of behaviors.

  • Strict, inflexible diet behaviors regardless of weight
  • Habitual/Frequent trips to the bathroom immediately after eating
  • Secretly eating and or hoarding large amounts of food (bingeing)
  • Unusual marked weight changes, fluctuations
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Use of laxatives, diuretics, diet pills
  • Compulsive exercise
  • Suppressing appetites with excessive water intake, caffeine, stimulant medication or illicit   stimulant drugs
  • Preoccupation with nutritional content of food
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Mood fluctuations
  • Avoidance of meals or situations where food may be present
  • Preoccupation with weight, body size and shape, or specific aspects of one’s appearance
  • Obsessing over calorie intake and calories burned via exercise
  • Denial of behaviors

Physical Symptoms:

  • Fainting spells from malnutrition and dehydration
  • Hair loss
  • Irregular or absent menstrual cycles
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Musculoskeletal injuries and pain
  • Dental erosions
  • Chronic constipation, gastro-esophageal reflux, and other gastro-intestinal problems
  • Markedly low blood pressure and pulse
  • Low energy

If there is concern about yourself or a loved one, please reach out to a psychologist, certified ED specialist, dietitian, psychiatrist and or medical doctor. Recovery is possible.

Nicolle Arbelaez Lopez, Psy.D., CEDS
Licensed Psychologist
Certified Eating Disorder Specialist


Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *