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Eating Disorder: Signs & Symptoms


ANOREXIA NERVOSA:

• Abrasions on back of hands/knuckles
• Becomes cold easily; especially the extremities
• Broken blood vessels in eyes or face
• Checking weight on scale frequently/multiple times each day
• Complains of being "too fat" despite being very thin
• Cooking for others, but not eating themselves
• Depression, irritability and mood swings
• Difficulty concentrating
• Difficulty eating in public or refusal to eat in public
• Dizziness
• Evidence of vomiting, laxative abuse, diet pills or diuretics to control weight
• Excessive exercise
• Exercising even when injured or ill
• Fainting
• Fatigue, weakness
• Feelings of self worth determined by what is or is not eaten as well as by the number on the scale
• Frequent, multiple excuses for not eating meals (i.e. ate earlier, not feeling well)
• Guilt, shame or feeling weak about eating
• Isolating from friends, family and social activities
• Highly self-critical
• Keeping meticulous track of calories consumed (e.g. including things like antacids, cough drops and low calorie sweetener. Lists of calories consumed can be found on gum wrappers, in notebooks etc.)
• Labels foods as “good” and “bad”
• Low self-esteem
• Muscle weakness and cramping, especially in the legs
• Noticeable discomfort around food
• Noticeable weight loss which is not caused by a known physical illness
• Obsession with food, calories, recipes
• Pale complexion, skin may have a ‘dirty’ look
• Perfectionistic attitude
• Problems with short term memory (forgetful)
• Restricting food choices to low calorie or diet foods
• Secretive about eating patterns
• Swollen salivary glands “puffy cheeks”
• Takes exquisite care of others
• Unusual eating habits (i.e. cutting food into tiny pieces, picking at food, unusual food combinations)
• Wearing baggy clothes to hide weight loss
• Yellow-orange skin


BULIMIA NERVOSA:

• Abrasions on back of hands and knuckles
• Avoidance of restaurants, planned meals or social events
• Binge eating
• Broken blood vessels (in eyes and face)
• Chewing and spitting food
• Dental decay and/or discoloration
• Difficulty with short term memory
• Difficulty concentrating
• Enlarged salivary or parotid glands (underside of the jaw, near the ears- sometimes referred to as chipmunk cheeks)
• Fasting (usually after a binge)
• Fatigue, lethargy
• Fear of not being able to stop eating when full
• Frequently complains of sore throat and or stomach pain
• Harsh, excessive exercise regimes (works out despite physical injury and illness)
• Ipecac abuse
• Labels food as “good” and “bad”
• Laxative, diet pill or diuretic abuse
• Mood swings, irritability, depression
• Muscle weakness, muscle cramping
• Need for approval from others
• Secretive eating (food missing)
• Self-worth determined by weight
• Self-deprecating thoughts following eating
• Severe self-criticism
• Substance abuse
• Visits bathroom after eating
• Vomiting (vomit may be found in trash bags, bowls etc.)
• Weight fluctuations (often 10-15 lbs. range)


BINGE EATING DISORDER/COMPULSIVE OVEREATING:

• Attempting many types of diets
• Attributing social and professional failures to high weight
• Believing s/he will be a better person once thin
• Binge eating
• Depression
• Eating little in public, while maintaining a high weight
• Fear of not being able to stop eating when full
• Feeling tormented by eating habits
• Feelings about self based on weight
• Isolating from friends, family, social activities and obligations
• Self-deprecating thoughts following binges
• Shame and guilt following bingeing, also present continuously to some degree regarding weight
• Sleep deprivation
• Weight is focal point of life
• Withdrawing from activities due to embarrassment about weight


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