Many people that struggle with an eating disorder may not show any outwardly signs.
There is of course physical evidence that can clearly indicate that someone is suffering with an eating disorder, but not in every single case. The biggest misconception about eating disorders is that they are directly related to food, vanity, or an adolescent stage of expression. While all of these circumstances may apply to someone that is active in an eating disorder, they are merely symptoms of a bigger problem.
Genetic, physiological, environmental, and social factors are what typically cause someone to turn to an eating disorder for comfort and relief. The most worrisome aspect of an eating disorder is that they can sometimes be hard to detect. Paying attention to the signs of an eating disorder can make the difference in helping someone get the help that they need.
Noticeable fluctuation in weight
This is probably the number one sign that people openly discuss about eating disorders. Depending on whether it is anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating, shifts in a person’s weight can be a clear sign of a bigger problem. A person with a distorted view of their body will try to use food as a means of control in some fashion.
A person with an eating disorder may often exercise for hours at a time. Their motive is to burn excessive calories because they fear gaining weight or have poor body image when they look in the mirror. Overtraining leads to added stress on the body, as well as an increased risk for injury.
Emphasis on appearance
By focusing on the discontentment of weight, size, or shape, a person might try for perfectionism which will never be achieved. This can lead to eating less or exercising more to fill the void of inadequacy and anxiety of not looking good enough.
Irregular sex hormones
Girls – and guys – both suffer from eating disorders and have different effects when it come to their hormones. When food is limited, the body will sacrifice fertility and vigor to provide energy for the body. In guys, low testosterone becomes the issue that leads to a lowered sex drive and hair loss. For girls, an abnormal menstrual cycle will ensue which is a telltale sign of eating disorders in females.
Although someone may look like any ordinary person, it is important to look for the signs of an eating disorder if there is any indication of something being off. Getting help for eating disorders is crucial because eating disorders have the highest rate of mortality of all psychiatric disorders. Seeking help can help someone who needs support for their eating disorder gain the balance they are lacking in their life.