Eating disorders are a serious but treatable form of mental illness that can affect people of all ages, genders and races. In America alone, an estimated 20 million women and 10 million men will deal with an eating disorder sometime in their lives.
If you are worried that you or someone you know may be dealing with an eating disorder, it is important to look for the following warning signs and get them help. It’s important to note that someone who may be struggling with an eating disorder probably won’t show all these symptoms at one time.
Common symptoms and signs include:
- Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, carbohydrates, fat and dieting
- Refusal to eat certain foods or restricting whole categories of food
- Skipping meals or taking excessively small portions of food
- Food rituals and excessive chewing, uncomfortable eating around others
- Frequent checking in the mirror and extreme concern with body size and shape
- Noticeable fluctuations in weight
- Difficulty concentrating and dizziness
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling cold all the time, mottled hands and feet
- Dry skin and hair, and brittle nails
The first step in treating an eating disorder is getting a diagnosis. From there, treatment involves a combination of nutritional and psychological counseling and monitoring. Addressing the symptoms and consequences, as well as the psychologic and cultural forces that contributed to the eating disorder is also a major part of treatment.
Recovery from an eating disorder is difficult, but with a strong support network, it is possible. For more information about recognizing and treating eating disorders, visit nationaleatingdisorders.org
. For information about Prevea’s Eating Disorder Program in Green Bay, click here