Why Are Eating Disorders Dangerous
Eating disorders can cause serious medical problems, and they can even kill you. They can damage your heart, skin, muscles, teeth, and stomach. If you have an eating disorder, you might develop a condition called osteoporosis , where your bones weaken and break very easily. You might also develop a serious mental illness.
Can Taking An Eating Disorder Quiz Help You Determine If You Truly Have An Eating Disorder
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn
Body image and eating behaviors are two things that occupy the minds of many young people. Our society is obsessed with appearance, and there are many false ideas about what it means to be healthy. It’s easy to see why struggling in these areas is common for people of all ages. Disordered eating behaviors are normalized and even praised in our society. Due to the glamorization of diet culture, it can be hard to determine if you might have an eating disorder.
Contrary to popular belief, eating disorders can affect people of all ages, races, genders, and abilities. People struggle with these conditions in different areas of the world. Eating disorders run far deeper than what we can attribute to society or the media. How can you tell if you have an eating disorder? Is an online eating disorder quiz a good place to start?
Preoccupation With Nutritional Content
A dedication to eating nutritious food is admirable, but if someone you know begins to classify foods as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, safe or unsafe, and is constantly searching out organic, low-fat diet foods, frequently visits websites focused on nutrition, or suddenly declares they are vegetarian or vegan, this, in conjunction with other behaviors, could be a sign that they need help.
You’re Wearing Baggy Or Large Clothing To Hide Your Body Or Changing Shape
If you’re suddenly gravitating toward baggy clothing or remaining fully covered even in the summer heat, or your clothes become too large and you’re still wearing them, you might be struggling with body dysmorphia related to an eating disorder.
“Clothing tends to be a way individuals can use to control what others see, or what they try to allow others to see,” explained Dr. Hampton. “This is often one of the first things that changes that others may notice. Those that are starting to develop anorexia will start to see their clothes become too large for their frame. Those that are starting to develop bulimia will start to expand their closet with multiple sizes of clothing” to account for weight fluctuations due to bingeing and purging.
Of course, buying new clothes or changing your style from day to day isn’t inherently unhealthy. But wearing heavy sweaters in the summer or dressing to hide your frame might signify that an eating disorder is developing.
Avoidant/restrictive Food Intake Disorder
ARFID is when someone avoids certain foods, limits how much they eat or does both.
Beliefs about weight or body shape are not reasons why people develop ARFID.
Possible reasons for ARFID include:
- negative feelings over the smell, taste or texture of certain foods
- a response to a past experience with food that was upsetting, for example, choking or being sick after eating something
- not feeling hungry or just a lack of interest in eating
You Drink More To Fill Your Stomach With Liquid
Its typical for people with eating disorders to consume lots of low-calorie drinks in order to fill their stomachs so they dont eat and feel less hungry. They might even replace an entire meal with a drink. Do you drink more coffee, water, tea or any other drink so you will eat less? Then, you might be at risk for disordered eating or developing an eating disorder.
Turn To Friends And Family Members For Support
When youre dealing with an eating disorder, youre often going to feel isolated. Sometimes eating disorders cause people to think terrible things, and you might be dealing with a lot of self-loathing right now. This is only going to make it harder to stay healthy. Being alone can potentially make it easier for an eating disorder to spiral out of control.
The worst thing that you could do would be to try to deal with an eating disorder alone. This will likely cause you to become more depressed and your disorder will continue to worsen. Sometimes it feels tough to reach out because you might feel embarrassed or ashamed in certain ways. You cant allow yourself to feel this way when you need help.
Your family and friends love you very much and will be there for you during your time of need. Many of them might even be able to relate to the thoughts that youre having. If youre able to talk to people about the things that are making you feel like you need to eat or stop eating, then you might be able to feel a bit better. For many, having a strong support system will be a crucial part of managing an eating disorder.
Ways You Can Look After Yourself
Its difficult to recover from an eating disorder on your own, but there are things you can try alongside treatment and support. Beat has lots of tips for recovery, and Mind has ideas for self-care including managing relapses, changing unhealthy routines and being careful online.
You may find that support groups are useful. It can be comforting to talk to others who have had the same feelings and experiences. You could join Beats online support group for people with anorexia.
Other Specified Feeding Or Eating Disorder
OSFED used to be called eating disorder not otherwise specified . Its a term for eating disorders that dont fit neatly into any of the above categories. People with OSFED have many eating disorder behaviours. For example, they might show all of the symptoms of anorexia, except for extreme weight loss.
Common Types Of Eating Disorders
Although the term eating is in the name, eating disorders are about more than food. Theyre complex mental health conditions that often require the intervention of medical and psychological experts to alter their course.
These disorders are described in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition .
In the United States alone, an estimated 20 million women and 10 million men have or have had an eating disorder at some point in their life .
This article describes 6 of the most common types of eating disorders and their symptoms.
Eating disorders are a range of psychological conditions that cause unhealthy eating habits to develop. They might start with an obsession with food, body weight, or body shape.
In severe cases, eating disorders can cause serious health consequences and may even result in death if left untreated.
Those with eating disorders can have a variety of symptoms. However, most include the severe restriction of food, food binges, or purging behaviors like vomiting or over-exercising.
Although eating disorders can affect people of any gender at any life stage, theyre most often reported in adolescents and young women. In fact, up to 13% of youth may experience at least one eating disorder by the age of 20 .
Summary Eating disorders are mental health conditions marked by an obsession with food or body shape. They can affect anyone but are most prevalent among young women.
Telltale Signs: How Do You Know If You Have An Eating Disorder
Learn how to identify eating disorders in yourself before it goes too far and you create irreversible damage to your body. All eating disorders can wreak havoc on your entire system. Some negative side effects of disordered eating include:
- Hair loss. The lack of nutrients can make your hair fall out.
- Skin problems. This includes the growth of a downy fur all over your body and face from your bodys attempt to keep itself warm.
- Gastrointestinal issues. This includes stomach ulcers, problems with the esophagus from frequent vomiting, and bowel problems.
- Heart arrhythmias. Not giving your body the strength and nutrition it needs can make your heart skip beats. In extreme cases, it can cause heart failure of death.
- Osteoporosis. Your bones can slowly begin to prematurely deteriorate.
- Fainting and weakness.
- In the case of binge eating, your stomach can rupture after a binge.
Here are some signs that you have an eating disorder and need to speak out and get help.
Signs Of Bulimia Nervosa
People with bulimia nervosa have episodes of eating large amounts of food followed by purging , fasting, or exercising excessively to compensate for the overeating.
Unlike anorexia, people with bulimia are often a normal weight. But they have the same intense fear of gaining weight and distorted body image. They see themselves as âfatâ and desperately want to lose weight. Because they often feel ashamed and disgusted with themselves, people with bulimia become very good at hiding the bulimic behaviors.
The following are common signs of bulimia:
- Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time, or finding lots of empty food wrappers or containers
- Evidence of purging, including trips to the bathroom after meals, sounds or smells of vomiting, or packages of laxatives or diuretics
- Skipping meals or avoiding eating in front of others, or eating very small portions
- Exercising excessively
How To Know If You Have An Eating Disorder
This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 23,615 times.
Eating disorders can come in different forms but they all affect your relationship with food and they can cause serious health problems if left untreated. You can learn about the behaviors, feelings, and physical effects of eating disorders to help you determine if you might have one. If you think you may have an eating disorder, make sure that you seek help as soon as possible. Eating disorders can become much more severe if left untreated.
You’re Experimenting With Diet Pills Medications Laxatives Or Weight Loss Supplements
If you’re not simply researching new ways to lose weight but actually trying them, you might be delving into disordered patterns.
As Dr. Hampton points out, “While this is typically an advanced technique that is indicative of an active eating disorder, one may be experimenting with diet pills or laxatives to attempt initial weight loss at the beginning.”
Types Of Eating Disorders
The most common eating disorders are:
- anorexia nervosa trying to control your weight by not eating enough food, exercising too much, or doing both
- bulimia losing control over how much you eat and then taking drastic action to not put on weight
- binge eating disorder eating large portions of food until you feel uncomfortably full
Do You Have An Eating Disorder
Eating Disorders how often do we see them depicted on a movie or scrutinized in the Tabloids? Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, the new Netflix To The Bone movie we know what anorexia looks like, but do we really understand how to pinpoint disordered eating in the people we hold close? Or within ourselves? Do we know the signs you may have an eating disorder?
As a culture, we are still fed a loose version of the signs that are involved in an eating disorder. What we fail to take into account is that eating disorders are much more than weight and a real threat to millions of women and men around the world. In fact, anorexia nervosa is the most fatal mental disorder in the world.
While every eating disorder is specific in its behaviors, here are seven real signs you may have an eating disorder:
Researching Fad Diets Or New Ways To Lose Weight Becomes More Common
There are always trendy diets on the horizon from “clean eating” to the keto diet that most people won’t bat an eye at someone trying them. But aside from avoiding certain foods due to allergy or intolerance, these diets often become a slippery slope to an eating disorder.
“For many people who are developing an eating disorder, they might find themselves constantly researching the next fad diet and trying new ways to lose weight,” explains Korn.
If you’re becoming preoccupied with weight loss treatments, products, or regimens, you might be verging into disordered territory.
Online Therapy Can Help You
For many, being able to manage negative thoughts, cravings, and other problems will be tough. If you struggle with eating disorder-related issues each day, then you might need a professional that you can turn to. You can always contact the experts at BetterHelp to get assistance. This is a convenient platform for online therapy where youll be matched with a therapist that understands the problems that you have.
Youll be able to work on improving your mental health while also understand how to better cope with negative thoughts. There are many different therapy techniques that help people to live with eating disorders. Being able to manage the condition while keeping your mental health in a positive place will make a difference. Youll be able to reach out to speak to a therapist whenever you feel like youre having a particularly tough day, too.
Knowing that you have someone on your side might help you to feel more secure. Most people have days where they will struggle more than others. If you ever feel the need, an online therapist will always be ready to speak to you. You dont have to worry about leaving the house, and there are even many different therapy options to choose from.
Dont hesitate to reach out if you think that online therapy would help you. Its a very affordable way to help you to manage your eating disorder. When paired with a treatment plan from your doctor, itll surely help you to feel better.
Six Signs You Might Have An Eating Disorder
Eating disorders are complicated. Theyre not as simple as wanting to lose five pounds, or avoiding carbohydrates because of a new diet trend. An eating disorder is a mental illness that makes you obsessed with weight, body shape, and food.
Friends and family members will often wonder Why did this happen? They seemed so happy before. Theres no satisfying answer to this question because every person with an eating disorder is different. One consistent thread is inner turmoil. A person might develop an eating disorder to cope with a chaotic life, other mental health issues, or having few social bonds. Societys beauty standards are usually not the only factor, although they do play a role. Society prizes unrealistic body types that can lead to constant dissatisfaction with your own body.
Sign #7: You Use Laxatives To Drop Weight
Laxatives can be helpful occasionally for people with digestive problems; theyre not meant as a weight-loss aid. Laxatives, cleanses, diuretics, and diet pills are often abused by people who are desperate to see the number on the scale go down, says Brennan. If you find yourself in a codependent relationship with your scale, try putting it away or having a friend store it for you for a while. If you need to weigh yourself in order to follow medical advice, talk with your provider about alternatives to having a scale in the home, such as using the scale at a gym or pharmacy one time per week. It can be very freeing to have your day start without they tyranny of the number on the scale.
You Make Negative Comments About Your Body
People with eating disorders often become obsessed with body-image standards set by society, their weight, and appearance. They can spend hours staring at themselves in the mirror, sizing up each and every detail about their body. If you frequently call yourself fat, or you are obsessed with your perceived physical flaws, you might be at risk for developing body-image issues or an eating disorder.
If you are struggling and think you have an eating disorder, know that you are not alone and that there is professional help available. It can be very difficult to admit or acknowledge that you are struggling. However, it is important that you seek help as soon as possible. Eating disorders seldom go away by themselves.
What Is An Eating Disorder
Multiple conditions can be classified under the category of eating disorders. Binge eating disorder , for example, is a condition where an individual eats large amounts of food at one time, and they feel that their behavior is out of control. With this disorder, the person does not purge afterward, as is the case with something like bulimia. It’s not as straightforward as “eating too much” or overeating; it’s far more complex than that. A person with BED usually feels ashamed, guilty, or very distressed after a binge. The sorts of binges in which a person engages during their episodes are characterized by eating more rapidly than someone ordinarily would, eating large amounts of food when not hungry, and eating alone to avoid others observing their behavior. BED is simply one eating disorder to be aware of. Another common eating disorder diagnosis is bulimia.
Bulimia Nervosa is another condition where a person binges, but unlike those with BED, a person with bulimia uses a compensatory behavior following that binge. This usually takes the form of self-induced vomiting. Other purging behaviors include fasting, taking laxatives, or exercise excessively. Much like those with BED, people with bulimia will often use binging and purging behaviors in secret. They may feel ashamed or out of control during these episodes, making it hard to speak out. According to the DSM-5, these episodes have to occur for three months at least once a week for bulimia to be diagnosed.
Debunking Some Common Misconceptions
One of the most common misconceptions about disordered eating is that its a young white womans disease, reveals Dr. Heinberg. The truth is that disordered eating can affect any gender, race or age. In fact, men account for 25% of disordered eating cases. Because doctors often overlook this possibility, men may experience delays in treatment and be enrolled in female-centric treatment programs.
Another misconception is that only underweight individuals can be diagnosed with an eating disorder. The truth is that people who are overweight or obese can also develop an eating disorder and its associated health and lifestyle consequences. All patients should be screened for disordered eating, not just those with a low BMI, notes Dr. Heinberg.
Eating Attitudes Test: Do I Have An Eating Disorder
The Eating Attitudes Test aims to answer the question, “do I have an eating disorder?”. Eating disorders are serious and potentially life-threatening mental illnesses. By honestly answering the questions on the Eating Attitudes Test, you can find out if you should be professionally screened for an eating disorder. . If you are looking for a shorter evaluation tool, take the eating disorders quiz.
Eating Attitudes Test: About You
1. Have you gone on eating binges where you feel that you may not be able to stop?No If yes, on average, how many times per month in the last 6 months? 2. Have you ever made yourself sick to control your weight or shape?No Yes If yes, on average, how many times per month in the last 6 months? 3. Have you ever used laxatives, diet pills or diuretics to control your weight or shape?No If yes, on average, how many times per month in the last 6 months? 4. Have you ever been treated for an eating disorder? No Yes5. Have you recently thought of or attempted suicide? No Yes
There’s An Uneasy Situation Happening In Your Life That Is Totally Unrelated To Eating Or Weight Loss
Eating disorders rarely form solely from a desire to change one’s body or be thinner and are often a result of a loss of control from a totally unrelated aspect to your life.
Dr. Hampton said, “Control will also be excessive, including control over food and exercise, as it is not likely control other things in their life. Sometimes the beginning of eating disorders can begin because the remainder of their life is chaotic.”
She adds, “In my experience, this happens in teenagers when their home life is chaotic. In adults, sometimes this chaos can be in a job environment, sometimes at home in a relationship, and sometimes it is related to needing to control feelings about past trauma. There is not one specific pattern or characteristic that can predict an eating disorder. However, it is important to reach out when one sees any of these behaviors” start to develop.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call NEDA’s Helpline on weekdays for support, resources, and information about treatment options. In crisis situations, NEDA offers 24/7 support just text “NEDA” to 741-741.
And if you or someone you know has thought about harming themselves or taking their own life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline .
Eating Disorders: How To Know When You Need Help Where To Start And What To Expect
Making the decision to seek help for your eating disorder can feel like the most confusing, frustrating, and isolating thing in the world. When chronic dieting and the pressures to constantly change ourselves is the cultural norm, it can be difficult to decipher if what youre struggling with is a true, diagnosable eating disorder or some other underlying issue. Regardless of whether your eating patterns are diagnosable as an eating disorder or not, an unhealthy relationship with food is never good. If you find yourself restricting your intake, constantly thinking about food, and feel like the number on the scale or the calorie count on the package controls your life, its time to make a change. An unhealthy relationship with food, even without the official label of an eating disorder, should be addressed and healed . If interested, you can use the National Eating Disorder Associations screening tool by .
This blog post does not serve as medical advice or as a replacement for a professional eating disorder screening. Every case is unique, and thats part of what makes recognizing eating disorders so tricky. If you or a loved one is struggling with symptoms of disordered eating behaviors and patterns, please seek individualized treatment. Use the following information for general education and awareness only.
If youre interested in finding food freedom and ditching diet culture forever, check out my 10-week, self-paced, online intuitive eating course by.
How Will My Doctor Know If I Have An Eating Disorder
Your doctor will talk to you and your family. You will be asked questions about how you feel about yourself, what you eat, and how much you exercise. Your doctor will give you a physical exam and might order blood tests or other tests. If your doctor thinks you have an eating disorder, you might be referred to a specialist so you can get the treatment you need. Good nutrition and psychologic counseling can help you recover from an eating disorder.