An eating disorder is a severe mental health condition that can have a profoundly negative impact on a person’s physical and emotional health. It’s estimated that around 9% of the U.S. population will have such a disorder at some point in their lifetime. Unfortunately, such disorders can be difficult to recognize, and many people who have one may not even realize it.
What Are Eating Disorders?
These psychological disorders are characterized by an unhealthy preoccupation with food, body weight, and shape. Such disorders include:
- Anorexia nervosa: a disorder characterized by extreme weight loss due to an obsession with being thin, which can lead to malnutrition and other health complications.
- Bulimia nervosa: a disorder characterized by an obsessive need to purge calories, often through excessive vomiting or laxative use.
- Binge-eating disorder: a disorder characterized by binging on large amounts of food in a short period of time, followed by guilt and shame.
How to Spot the Warning Signs
The following are a few signs that you or a loved one might be suffering from a disorder with eating:
- Significant weight loss, such as if the person is below 85% of their ideal body weight (remember that some of these disorders don’t always result in weight loss).
- Obsession with food, calories, and dieting.
- Avoidance of social activities related to eating.
- Constantly making negative comments about their body weight or physical appearance.
- Suddenly developing a dislike for foods they once liked.
- Developing eating rituals, such as cutting food into tiny pieces or eating in secret.
- Engaging in secretive behaviors, such as hiding food wrappers or visiting the bathroom after.
- Developing physical symptoms, such as hair loss, gray skin, fainting spells, disrupted sleep patterns, dental erosions, low blood pressure, constipation, and more.
To help spread awareness about the disorder, February has been designated as Eating Disorders Awareness and Screening Month. If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of the warning signs, it’s important to seek professional help in California right away. For more health advice, visit us at The Benefits Store today.