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If a friend or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, you can play an important part in helping them get the treatment they need. But how can you tell if they are struggling?
Almost everybody has had to deal with a friend or a family member suffering from an eating disorder at some point in their lives.
Some of the symptoms can mimic others such as the flu or the menstrual cycle. What are some of the most important signs to look out for?
Here are the top three symptoms of an eating disorder to watch out for.
1. An Obsession With Food
People with an eating disorder will think about food all the time and become preoccupied with calorie counting and the number on the scale.
They are constantly thinking about food, what they should or shouldn’t be eating, and how much they should or shouldn’t be eating. They may plan their meals around the clock and feel anxious if they miss a meal or snack.
2. An Obsession With Weight
Another symptom for people with an eating disorder is an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat. They are doing risky or extreme behaviors in order for them to lose weight or achieve a particular body type.
They are engaging in disordered eating habits. This can include things like skipping meals, eating very little food or crash dieting, and binge eating then purging.
They will go to extreme lengths to lose weight, such as taking laxatives, self-induced vomiting, or excessive exercise.
3. An Obsession With Body Image
Another symptom of eating disorders in adults is that people may have a distortion in the way how they perceive their bodies. This can manifest as perceiving oneself as overweight even when they are not or as being disgusted with certain body parts.
They may also have an intense preoccupation with their body size and shape.
This can manifest as looking at pictures of thinner people, then spending a lot of time thinking about their image, or weighing oneself multiple times per day and becoming fixated on their body size and shape.
They may also be very critical of themselves and their appearance and may frequently spend hours looking in the mirror to check and compare themselves to other people. They may feel worthless, undeserving, or unlovable.
Symptoms of an Eating Disorder to Look Out For
People with eating disorders often go to great lengths to hide their symptoms, but the truth is that these disorders can be extremely harmful.
Left untreated, eating disorders can lead to malnutrition, organ damage, and even death, so it is vital to be aware of the signs and symptoms.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of the symptoms of an eating disorder, it is important to seek professional help immediately.
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