7 Signs of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect millions of people in the United States, and many individuals go undiagnosed for years or even decades. For this reason, knowing the signs and symptoms of eating disorders is important. Although not all disorders of this kind fall under a specific category, the most common are bulimia, binge eating disorder, and anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa, often shortened to “anorexia,” is an emotional disorder, as are all eating disorders. It manifests through an individual’s deliberate avoidance of adequate food consumption. It is essentially self starvation, which is the exact meaning of the medical phrase “anorexia nervosa.” Those afflicted with this disorder may eventually find themselves ill, dehydrated, vitamin and nutrient deficient, and in some cases a person may even die if treatment is not sought.

Binge eating is another serious eating disorder. Virtually everyone occasionally overeats and this behavior is not automatically indicative of an eating disorder. In most cases, it is merely something a person does from time to time. True binge eaters have a serious condition that results in uncontrolled overeating. In many instances, even when one becomes physically sick, he or she cannot control compulsive eating habits.

1. Constant Dieting

A common symptom of anorexia nervosa is constant dieting, which is never normal. Even if a person has a bit of excess weight he or she needs to lose, no person should be dieting on a continuous basis with no end in sight. Those with anorexia feel compelled to diet because regardless of how they look or how much weight they lose, they are never happy with their appearance and usually consider themselves “fat,” even when the scale proves they are underweight.

Some anorexics claim they are on a healthy diet, rather than a starvation diet, but if one watches closely, it is clear that the person is not consuming a normal amount of food for a healthy adult. Those who are always on a diet despite the fact that they are at or below their normal weight may be suffering from anorexia nervosa. However, this symptom may also be associated with binge eating disorder, as some people with this disorder go on fasts after binge eating to make up for the excess calories. Brittle hair and nails, a sallow complexion, and continuous fatigue are additional signs and symptoms that may be seen in those with such disorders, as constant dieting causes them to become deficient in many nutrients.