Eating disorders involve a preoccupation with food, weight and shape. Anorexia Nervosa is marked by restrictive eating, a distorted body image, and an unrealistic fear of weight gain, along with achieving a dangerously low weight and a cessation of menstrual periods. Bulimia Nervosa is also characterized by body image concerns, but individuals often engage in binge eating, and attempt to compensate to prevent weight gain through the use of purging behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, or excessive exercise. Individuals with binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating may be of normal weight or overweight, but struggle with cycles of overeating and subsequent feelings of shame.
Many symptoms of the above mentioned disorders overlap, so that individuals with eating disorders may have forms of one or more of the disorders at any one time. Some may not fit all of the diagnostic criteria at a given time, but may experience the associated low self-esteem, poor body image and health effects nonetheless. When reviewing the list of symptoms below, please keep in mind that this is a partial list of possible symptoms, and that you do not need to have every symptom listed to warrant getting the help you need.
Warning signs of anorexia
While the above is a partial list of warning signs, each individual is unique, and may only have one or a few of these. More serious, even life-threatening complications may develop at any time, so these symptoms must be taken seriously. Associated emotional and cognitive problems such as depression and mood swings, anxiety, impaired memory and concentration, and alcohol and substance abuse are also common. Parents, siblings, spouses, friends, roommates, and co-workers all may be affected by the disorder.