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How to Spot an Eating Disorder

How to Spot an Eating Disorder

It would be incredibly simple if there were a simple checklist of signs that you or a loved one may be struggling with an eating disorder, but these disorders are anything but simple.

At Southlake Counseling, our team of psychologists and therapists, under the direction of Kimberly Krueger, specializes in eating disorders, and we understand how complex these conditions can be.

To help shed some light on eating disorders, we break them down here and provide a list of some of the more common signs of a potential problem.

Common eating disorders

One of the primary reasons why there’s no neat checklist when it comes to an eating disorder is that these disorders take on may forms, including:

This list isn’t comprehensive, but please note that eating disorders, in general, are fairly common, affecting 5% of the population in the United States, primarily among teenagers and young adults.

Another thing this list doesn’t accomplish is to explain the breadth and scope of each of these eating disorders, which are highly complex behavioral and mental issues.

Signs of an eating disorder

Spotting an eating disorder can be very difficult as, most of the time, the person with the disorder is doing everything they can to mask the problem.

It’s also difficult to provide you with a checklist of symptoms or side effects here, since we’re dealing with a wide range of disorders, but there are some general rules of thumb when it comes to behaviors and physical symptoms.

To give you an idea, here are some clear warning flags that an eating disorder may be present:

While one might assume that body weight alone would be a good indicator, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Outside of anorexia nervosa, many people with eating disorders are within normal weight ranges.

Since many of these behaviors we list above are done in secret, you should also be on the lookout for certain behaviors or statements, such as isolating or frequently disparaging their body, respectively.

Eating disorders often also coincide with other mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. In some cases, a mental health issue may result from an eating disorder or the eating disorder may develop on the heels of a preexisting mental health issue.

Our last point is that we’re primarily discussing eating disorders in which there are no glaring physical symptoms. When an eating disorder goes unchecked, it can lead to more obvious signs, such as tooth decay, hair loss, broken bones, and sallow skin. In extreme cases, an eating disorder can be life-threatening, but it’s usually obvious at this dangerous point when there’s a problem.

Ultimately, you know yourself or your child best, and if you think there’s a problem surrounding eating and body image, it’s time to come see us. If you’d like more information on eating disorders and how we can help, contact one of our offices in Davidson, Huntersville, Concord, or Charlotte, North Carolina.

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