According to a report by the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders (STRIPED), almost 30 million Americans will suffer from an eating disorder at some point during their lifetime. Eating disorders also do not discriminate, as they can impact all ages, races, genders, and sexual orientations.
Many times, people may not even realize they have an eating disorder. That’s why it’s essential to know and recognize the different signs. The first step to recovery is acknowledging the following symptoms in yourself or a loved one:
- Withdrawal from Regular Activities
Many people with eating disorders will purposefully avoid social gatherings, especially if they know there will be food. They do not want the added stress of eating with others and having to hide their condition.
- Change in Eating Habits
Eating disorders cause people to limit their portion sizes to the extreme, frequently skip meals, or change their food attitude. Instead of enjoying it, they avoid it as much as possible.
- Obsession with Bodily Appearance
People with eating disorders typically obsess over how they look, their weight, and how they look compared to others.
- Negative Self-Image
Usually, people develop an eating disorder because they dislike how their body looks and have low self-esteem. They believe that losing weight will help them feel better about their appearance.
- Hoarding and Hiding Food
Depending on the specific disorder, some may hoard food in their room or hide wrappers under their bed, in couch cushions, to avoid someone from finding them.
- Excessive Exercise
Eating disorders aren’t just related to food. They can also cause a person to regularly engage in a heavy amount of physical activity, which can be dangerous if their body is malnourished.
- Eating in Secret
Those with a disorder may not want to eat in front of others and resort to eating secretly in their room or another area where people are not present.
- Noticeable Weight Loss
As an eating disorder progresses, the person’s body isn’t getting the adequate nutrients it needs. As a result, they may lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time.
- Disappearing Food
People with eating disorders are likely to shove their food into a napkin at mealtimes and secretly throw it away to avoid appearing suspicious.
Some people are ashamed of their disorder and try to keep it hidden from friends and family members. However, this can be extremely dangerous for their health. Those with eating disorders can reach out to Group Therapy Lakewood for assistance. Anyone can benefit from professional help and counseling, regardless of the disorder’s specific type or severity.