Friday, February 16, 2024

How To Know If You Have An Eating Disorder

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What Are The Different Types Of Eating Disorder

How do I tell if I have an eating disorder?

There are a number of different types of eating disorder, each with their own unique features.


People with anorexia are obsessed with being thin, have an irrational fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image . People with anorexia try to keep their weight as low as possible and often achieve this by starving themselves and engaging in ‘purging’ behaviours where they try to remove calories from their body.


People with bulimia tend to binge and then make themselves sick, abuse laxatives or exercise excessively to try and get rid of the calories consumed . These binge-purge cycles are driven by an obsessive need to control food intake, and can be triggered by stress, anxiety or hunger. Bulimia can be harder to spot than anorexia because often, someone with bulimia stays a ‘normal’ weight.

Binge eating disorder

People with binge eating disorder binge eat on a regular basis, often eating huge amounts of unhealthy food, even when they are not hungry. However, people with BED dont show any purging behaviours, which means that they are likely to become obese.

Eating disorders not otherwise specified

Eating disorders not otherwise specified , also referred to as atypical eating disorders, can resemble other forms of eating disorder but do not meet the exact requirements in order to receive a formal diagnosis.

Signs You Might Have An Eating Disorder

Im in recovery from an eating disorder. When I say that, people often immediately think that means that I used to be extremely thin. Thats not the case at all, says Crisis Counselor Kait Vanderlaan.

Kait is certainly not alone. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders estimates that approximately 10% of the population will deal with some sort of eating disorder during their lifetime. Just like mental illness, anyone can be affected by an eating disorder.

Fifty percent of people texting into Crisis Text Line about eating disorders identified as LGBTQ+. According to Crisis Trends, these conversations were also 94% more likely to include mentions of bullying.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition , there are five categories of eating disorders:

Although these disorders can manifest differently, they can share a couple of the same signs.

These seven signs may mean you are struggling with an eating disorder. If these signs seem familiar, reach out for help. You should always see a medical professional to get a formal diagnosis.

  • You struggle to eat in front of others. Eating disorders make it difficult to engage with food in a healthy way. That might mean having a hard time eating in public or feeling like you need to hide the food that youre eating.
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    Youre Wearing Baggy Or Large Clothing To Hide Your Body Or Changing Shape

    If youre suddenly gravitating toward baggy clothing or remaining fully covered even in the summer heat, or your clothes become too large and youre 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 isnt inherently unhealthy. But wearing heavy sweaters in the summer or dressing to hide your frame might signify that an eating disorder is developing.

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    When To Get Help

    If you feel your child is overeating or not eating enough, it may be time to seek professional advice and treatment. Though eating disorders are very serious and can be deadly if undiagnosed, they are treatable. Your child will need love and support, but with proper intervention, can lead a happy and healthy life.

    How Do I Know If I Have Anorexia

    Types of Eating Disorders

    Knowing if you have an eating disorder can be challenging in todays society. Many images on social media, television and other platforms portray mixed messages of what is a healthy versus unhealthy look for men and women. So how would you know if you have Anorexia?

    Eating disorders are not simply an unhealthy lifestyle. Eating disorders are a mental health disorder that often needs professional treatment to recover.

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    How Honest Are You

    Have you lied to others about eating or exercise in order to hide the extremes you go to in an effort to control your body size? Have you felt defensive and upset when others express concern regarding your obsession with weight or weight loss? Do you try to hide your body size under layers of clothing?

    Eating Disorder Quiz: How Do I Know If I Have An Eating Disorder

    Interested in taking our 4 minute quiz and receiving tailored feedback about the nature of your possible eating disorder symptoms?

    If so, read on!

    Its common for people to wonder whether they may have an eating disorder.

    Many of the symptoms of eating disorders are so common in modern society that this way of living may be the new norm.

    Although determining whether you meet criteria for a specific eating disorder requires a lengthy diagnostic interview with a professional, answering a self-report survey can give you important insights towards the nature of your symptoms.

    If youre interested in finding out about your current eating patterns, complete the questionnaire below, which assesses broad range of eating disorder symptoms..

    While this quiz cannot be used to diagnose someone, responses can tell you where you stand in relation to the general population.

    If you take this 4 minute quiz, you will receive personalized feedback about your current level of eating disorder symptoms.

    See how you go!

    Please note that your responses will be completely confidential and no identifiable information will be collected or shared. The feedback we provide will be based on norms established through published, peer-reviewed research. Unidentifiable responses may be used for research purposes, so answering these questions implies that youve read the Plain Language Statement and given consent.

    Take the test and see how you go!

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    Do You Try A Lot Of Different Types Of Diets

    Even though there are a lot of different types of eating plans out there, not all of them are right for everyone. If youre healthy and in touch with your bodys signals, you might be able to find the best plan for you.

    However if you switch from diet to diet especially those that require you to eliminate foods or food groups you may have an eating disorder. Or, if youve settled on a plan, but remain rigid about adhering to its rules, even if you dont look or feel well, you could also have an eating disorder.

    You Drink More To Fill Your Stomach With Liquid

    How To Know If You Have An Eating Disorder

    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.

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    Physical Signs Of An Eating Disorder

    One of the most noticeable physical signs of an eating disorder is a fluctuation in weight, either up or down. However, this is not a reliable sign, as it does not occur in everyone. It is also possible for people to hide weight loss to an extent by wearing thick or layered clothing.

    Other physical signs of disorders that restrict food intake include:

    • feeling cold a lot
    • 2017 study , researchers noted that although not everyone who compulsively exercises does so to lose weight, eating disorders and compulsive exercise share many symptoms and commonly occur alongside each other.
    • Orthorexia: This term refers to an obsessive interest in eating clean, pure, or healthy foods. It shares some similarities with anorexia and ARFID, but it is not currently a formal medical diagnosis.
    • Laxative abuse: This occurs when someone uses laxatives in the mistaken belief that doing so will prevent calorie absorption and cause weight loss.
    • Diabulimia: This occurs when people with type 1 diabetes restrict or otherwise misuse their insulin in an attempt to lose weight.

    It is also common for people with eating disorders to have other mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety.

    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.

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    Sign #: 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.

    Telltale Signs: How Do You Know If You Have An Eating Disorder

    All about disordered eating: Understanding and addressing ...

    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.

  • You have any of the physical symptoms above and have no other medical reason for having them. This is a huge red flag that you need to get help immediately, because once physical symptoms set in they will only continue to get worse.
  • Thoughts about what you have eaten dictate your mood. This works either way if you feel happy when youre hungry, or mad or upset when you perceieve that you ate too much. Food intake shouldnt influence your mood in any sort of extreme way.
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    Hoarding And Stashing Food

    Eating disorders can cause people to hide or stash food. In some cases, individuals may hoard select safe foods or beverages. They may feel the need to stockpile it, keep it separate or even hide it, so that other family members cant eat it. For others, the hidden food in question may be triggering to the person, and they may view it as forbidden.

    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

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    Are The Mind Games Getting To You

    Do other peoples comments about your body size truly confuse you? Is it impossible for you to believe their statements about your body? Do you believe deep inside you have enormous flaws that others are lying to you about? Do you question their motives, silently accusing them of lying, or coming up with bizarre reasons your friends or family might lie to you?

    How Will My Doctor Know If I Have An Eating Disorder

    How To Tell Your Parents You 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.

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    Other Eating And Feeding Problems

    For your eating problem, you may get a diagnosis for one of the eating disorders explained on this page.

    However, there are other diagnoses you may receive.

    These tend to be much less common than anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

    Rumination disorder

    If you get a diagnosis of rumination disorder, you’ll regularly regurgitate your food. Regurgitating means bringing food back up that you’ve already eaten and swallowed.

    You won’t have a physical health problem to explain it. You might re-chew, re-swallow or spit out the food you regurgitate.

    For more details, see Beat’s information about rumination disorder.


    If you get a diagnosis of pica, you’ll often eat things that aren’t food.

    The things you eat tend to have no nutritional value. Some examples may be chalk, metal or paint. This can be very damaging to your body.

    For more details, see Beat’s information about pica.

    Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder

    If you get a diagnosis of ARFID, you’ll strongly feel the need to avoid certain foods . This might be because of smell, taste or texture. The idea of eating may fill you with anxiety.

    ARFID does not tend to be linked to body image issues. It’s more anxiety about the process of eating itself.

    For more details, see Beat’s information about ARFID.

    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

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    Are You Ok Serrell Seriously Clembo Whats The Matter Oh God Do You Still Love Him Are You Pregnantis It Me Have I Pissed You Off Please Honestly Just Say

    At that very moment I knew if I did just say I could never just not say. That would be it. Id be forever the random that suddenly starting throwing up after meals where the hell had that even come from? My best friend and I were driving back from Cardiff after a night out with other close friends. I hadnt long broken up with my ex and although on the surface, it seemed I was just going through the standard break up motions, underneath all was far from fine. They didnt know that, and I didnt really know it at that point either. But then, right at that moment, in the car with my friend, I thought Id tell her Id been making myself sick after mini binges. I was stuttering a bit as my mind was racing from tell her/dont tell her/tell her/dont tell her. I knew that as soon as I said it, I could never take it back- would she judge me? Would she think I was losing the plot? I kind of worried I was! Would she tell everyone and then Id forever be judged if I even hinted at needing the toilet after a meal.

    If you or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please check out the following websites for advice and support.

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