You may have noticed your relationship with food has changed and be wondering if it’s for the better, or you may be watching someone you care about struggle with the way or how much they eat (which can be incredibly painful for both of you). We’re here to outline how to recognise an eating disorder, so you can pick up on the indications early.
Do I have one?
There are a few symptoms to watch out for which can indicate an eating disorder. People who have one usually spend a large amount of time worrying about how they look, about their body shape, and what the scales say. They’ll also often avoid any social event or gathering where food will be a main part. They might eat only small amounts of food, and make themselves sick or take laxatives to rid themselves of whatever they’ve eaten.
People with eating disorders can sometimes become obsessive with exercise and do too much, as well as being incredibly strict with their food habits. Their mood could also be up and down, irritable, and change from their usual attitude. In terms of physical changes, people can become very tired, get lightheaded, and begin having problems with their digestion. Their weight may drop, and women and girls may even miss periods.
What kinds of eating disorders?
You may have heard a few terms thrown around, but what do they really mean? These are the most common types of eating disorders:
Anorexia nervosa – This sees the person eat as little as they can in order to keep their weight as low as possible. There may also be excessive exercise involved.
Bulimia – This disorder will usually involve a person losing control around food and eating large amounts quickly (also known as binging). Then, they’ll either make themselves sick or take laxatives in an attempt to undo the binge. There may also be excessive exercise involved.
Binge Eating Disorder – This is where people find it difficult to stay in control around food, eating large amounts and making themselves uncomfortable, before being overwhelmed with fears of guilt and upset.
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) – This disorder can be applicable for people who have symptoms that don’t specifically match the above three descriptions, but still suffer unhealthily with food – these disorders are just as serious.
You can read more about eating disorders from the NHS, here.
If you feel like you’re suffering from an eating disorder, take a look at our pages to see where you can find help, here, or call us on 01326 378919 to see if you could benefit from any of our Sea Sanctuary programmes. You may also find it worthwhile to visit your GP.