By Staff Writer
For a disease that can inflict such drastic damage on a person’s body and mind, an eating disorder can be surprisingly difficult to detect by friends and family members of an afflicted individual.
Many people who are struggling with an eating disorder become highly adept at hiding both their behavior and the physical effects of that behavior. In addition to allowing the disorder to continue unchecked, this “ability” also tends to isolate the disordered eater from loved ones who can provide essential support.
The following 10 warning signs could indicate that someone you know may have an eating disorder:
1. Noticeable (and unexplainable) weight loss
2. A tendency for skipping meals and/or refusing to eat with or in front of others
3. A habit of eating extremely small portions, and/or restricting oneself to low-fat items with little nutritional value (such as lettuce and celery)
4. An obsession with calorie information and fat content of food being eaten
5. A preoccupation with body size, shape and weight (both self and others)
6. Persistent complaints about being fat, especially when person is noticeably thin
7. A habit of wearing baggy or layered clothing (often done to hide weight loss)
8. A seemingly desperate need to exercise often and for long periods of time
9. Evidence of using laxatives, diuretics and enemas
10. Dry skin and hair, and the development of a fine layer of hair on arms, legs and torso
Of course, this list does not contain every eating disorder symptom – nor does the presence of any one of these signs definitively indicate that a person is suffering from an eating disorder.
But if someone you know has been exhibiting signs such as the ones described above, this person could be in need of effective professional treatment for an eating disorder.