Knowing Eating Disorder Symptoms is essential because an eating disorder may affect you or a loved one without you ever realizing it. Many people with eating disorders start slowly and work into the disorder and their behavior has occurred so long that it seems quite normal to them.
There are several types of disorders and each one has specific behaviors that you can recognize.
Many people with eating disorders hide their affliction from the public and sometimes even hide food in unusual places so the food and their secret remain a mystery. There are several symptoms of each disorder but the major one that all have is the obsessive compulsion with food, food intake and the body.
Frequently parents of teenagers never realize that their child has this problem. Often the teen disguises the severe weight loss with oversized clothing that hides the sickeningly thin body of the anorexic. It is not until some event or illness causes the body and the rail thin appearance exposure, that others discover the anorexic.
The symptoms seen first are often psychological. The anorexic sees themselves as fat, regardless of what common sense should tell them. There is both a preoccupation with weight and food and an intense fear of getting fat.
When the body weight is 15% below the average for that height and build, there is a potential that anorexia exists. Not all thin people are anorexics, but most thin people that believe they are fat definitely have the symptoms.
Bulimia, an "eat and purge disease", solves the problem of overweight in a different manner. Bulimics binge eat and then suffer mentally because they do. In an effort to rid themselves of the potential for weight gain they purge.
Purging may be vomiting, the ingesting of diuretics or laxatives, frequent enemas or even fasting and exercising later.
If you find your child eating more rapidly than normal and consuming vast calories, only to disappear into the bathroom after meals, you may consider that they could be suffering from bulimia. Just like anorexics, bulimics have a distorted and heightened worry about the body shape and weight gain.
Binge eaters are far more difficult to find. Often the binge eater hides out as they consume volumes of food in just minutes or hours. The pace of consumption is rapid, and often they look like a steam shovel pouring food into their body uncontrollably.
The binge eater may also be bulimic and attempt to purge themselves of the food, or they may not. Often the binge eater feels disgusted with themselves when they finish which further magnifies their depression and causes more binge eating.
If you suspect that you or someone in your family shows eating disorder symptoms, do not delay on checking it out. Teenagers balk when parents investigate but your child’s life may be on the line and that is far more important than worrying about their privacy.
Look for unusual preoccupation with food and weight. Remove the bathroom scales for a day or two. If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, you find this almost unbearable. If it is a family member, tell them it broke and you’re buying a new one and watch for signs of panic.
Eating disorders are dangerous to both the psyche and the body and it is of utmost importance that you catch it before damage to the body occurs.