Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder
While the general public is more aware of eating disorders than in the past, there are still misconceptions. Don’t forget that there are different kinds of eating disorders so the signs may not be obvious if you are relying on your preconceptions, such as someone with an eating disorder not eating anything in front of you. Additionally, the need for structure and the avoidance of risk may be evident characteristics early on. Here are some warning signs of an eating disorder to look for if you think someone close to you may have an eating disorder:
The girls and women who develop eating disorders often display similar characteristics. These characteristics are but not limited to the following:
- They tend to be highly emotional reserved and cognitively inhibited
- They prefer routine, orderly and predictable environments and adapt poorly to change
- They show heightened conformity and deference to others
- They avoid risk
- They react to stressful events with strong feelings or distress
- They focus extensively on perfectionism which appears to manifest itself in widespread negative self-evaluation
Symptoms of Eating Disorders
- Constantly thinking about “feeling fat”
- Preoccupation with food, weight, calories and body image
- Skipping meals, eating alone and unusual food choices
- Laxative and/or diuretic abuse
- Compulsive exercising
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Having weight problems determined self-esteem
- Frequent weigh-ins
- Constantly eating beyond normal appetite
- Denial and defensive behavior about changes in weight, appearance or eating habits
- Rapid weight loss
- Eliminating meat or other food groups from the diet
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Low body temperature
Side Effects of Eating Disorders
- Cardiac complications
- Erosion of teeth and gums
- Kidney problems
- Intestinal ulcers
- Deteriorating hair and nail quality
- Insomnia or disruptive sleeping pattern
- Skin rash or dry skin
- Memory loss, distorted cognitions
- Indecisiveness, impaired concentration
- Electrolyte imbalances
Who Needs Intensive Outpatient Treatment?
- Individuals who have been unresponsive to outpatient care may be successfully treated in our intensive outpatient program without resorting to more costly hospitalization.
- Medically stable individuals who necessitate a higher level of care than traditional outpatient therapy, but do not require residential or inpatient treatment.
- Individuals who need a transition program from inpatient to a more routine lifestyle while continuing treatment.
- Individuals who require intensive treatment without interrupting their academic or career track as well as their quality of life.
If you recognize the warning signs of an eating disorder in yourself of someone you love, please call us. We specialize in the treatment of anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating.