The ED FAQs’

What does an Eating Disorder look like?

Eating disorders are often recognized by extreme emotions, attitudes and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. In a culture obsessed with thinness, beauty, and dieting, it is often difficult to distinguish when one’s beliefs or actions have become harmful.

Anorexia Nervosa

Symptoms include:

  • Self starvation and excessive weight loss
  • Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for height, body
    type, age, and activity level
  • Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat”
  • Feeling “fat” or overweight even when he/she is thin
  • Loss of menstrual periods
  • Loss or thinning of hair
  • Exercises excessively, even when tired or injured.
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape

Bulimia Nervosa

Symptoms include:

  • Repeated episodes of binging and purging (throwing up)
  • Feeling out of control during a binge and eating beyond the point of comfortable fullness
  • Engaging in vomiting, laxative, or exercise abuse
  • Frequent dieting and fluctuations in weight
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder is characterized primarily by periods of uncontrolled, impulsive or continuous eating beyond the point of feeling comfortably full. While there is no purging, there may be sporadic fasts or repetitive diets and often feelings of shame or self-hatred after a binge. People who overeat compulsively may struggle with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loneliness

Other Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can include a combination of the signs and symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, and/or binge eating disorder. While these behaviors may not be clinically considered a full-syndrome eating disorder, they can still be physically dangerous and emotionally draining. All eating disorders require professional help.

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