9 Signs You Could Be Suffering from an Eating Disorder

By: Salma Gharraf

One of the most complex and influential relationships are the ones between a human and food. Because of the world we live in right now, learning to love and appreciate food can be really hard. Getting to enjoy an extra slice of pizza or a plate of your favorite lasagna, ignoring anyone telling you “haven’t you eaten enough?” can be exhausting, for some more than others. See, learning to love yourself and accepting what you look like, despite what anyone would say, is a very long and tiring process when all your mind keeps on telling you is “you’re too fat to eat that piece of candy” and when all your eyes are capable of seeing is the number of calories written all over that delicious meal you want to try but can’t let yourself have.

That is one example of what we call, my fellow readers, an eating disorder. And although some might see it as something that only characters in movies and series or hosts on doctor Phil could get, it’s actually an extremely dangerous and frequent illness. So, you might wanna learn more about it, cause you never know, maybe one of your friends, family members, people that you follow, or even yourself, has one.

Now you might be wondering, why would someone have an eating disorder? There are many factors that could cause that.

Some people may be genetically vulnerable to developing eating disorders. Studies indicate that individuals with biological siblings or parents with an eating disorder, are more likely to have one themselves. It’s related to a hormone that influences eating behaviors and one’s mood. 

Also, emotions and one’s view of self, which are a big reason for someone to have an eating disorder, if they suffer from low self-esteem or insecurities, they may get to the point where they start starving themselves. Relationships with family and friends, if they have a lot of conflicts and aren’t very close, may have the same effect.

Let’s not forget about social media, that often idealizes thinness as the perfect body type, promoting shakes and drinks that do nothing but damage one’s health. 

And lastly, when a person surrounds themselves with toxic people who encourage losing weight and using laxatives, convincing them that it’s normal and healthy.

Essentially, body dysmorphia, to a great extent.

There are many types of eating disorders, but all of them share common symptoms that could be noticed and identified through time:

always being on a diet, whatever your weight might be

“Oh, sorry can’t eat that, I’m on a diet, again.’ is what gets typically said, also the person can hide or disappear during lunch breaks or during sittings where food is involved.

preoccupation with weight, body size and shape, or specific aspects of one’s appearance

You’ll find them constantly looking at themselves in the mirror, shaming their bodies, picking at the smallest part of body fat, wishing they could just cut it, that they could just wake up one day with it disappeared, for them to never see it again.

always going to the bathroom after eating

And no, it’s not for washing their hands, it’s for letting out anything eaten, so they wouldn’t feel guilty about having that meal.

secretly binging on large amounts of food

Chocolate, chips, Doritos, McDonald’s combo large meals, ice cream, you name it. All hidden safely in a drawer or on a shelf, saved for when they’re needed. And then, opened and consumed, one by one, while watching their favorite show, or flipping through the TV, relaxed on their couch, forgetting about any problems and just eating the pain away.

using laxatives, diuretics or diet pills

They’re normally kept in bags, purses, pencil cases, in the back of a drawer, and used almost on a daily basis.

intensively exercising

And I’m not talking normal 1 to 2 hour daily workout sessions, this person considers the gym their second home, they spend all their free time burning calories, tiring the fuck out of themselves, obsessed over lowering the percentage of fat in their body, not caring whether they get tired or not.

using prescription stimulant medications (like Adderall) and/or illicit stimulant drugs

These are used to stop one’s appetite and make them not want to eat anymore, even if they’re hungry.

withdrawal from friends and family

Especially after asking them about their weight loss habits and decisions and questioning their eating choices.

menstrual irregularities for women

A gynecologist will be needed for medication and frequent check-ups.

Now I’m going to talk specifically about the three most common eating disorders and their exact symptoms:

bulimia nervosa:

A disease that triggers the sufferer to consume very large amounts of food, what can be identified as binging, and then to rid themselves of excess calories, what might be called purging.

To put it in a simpler way, someone who has bulimia doesn’t stop, secretly, eating until he feels pain or discomfort, who might use laxatives from to time, go to the bathroom every now and then, especially after eating or before meetings with important people. He also might be obsessed with working out.

The symptoms of this disease include having damaged teeth and gums, scars and bruises on fingers, a sore throat and mouth, all because of purging and forcing themselves to vomit.

anorexia nervosa:

A disease where the sufferer starves themselves because of the desire to maintain an unrealistic and unhealthy body image.

Basically, an individual with anorexia will refuse to eat when offered, deny his hunger, constantly exercise and go on strict, unhealthy diets, consisting only of food low in fat and calories.

Symptoms of this disease might involve fatigue, looking extremely underweight and weak all the time, with one’s bones sticking out and their hair falling. Sometimes the sufferer might even faint or, in some women’s cases, have menstrual problems and complications.

binge eating disorder:

A disease where the sufferer compulsively overeats, often thousands of calories in a short period, and frequently in secret, but who doesn’t purge.

So, if anyone has BED, they’d be eating big amounts of food, even if they’re not hungry, in a very short period of time, until being uncomfortably full. Then, they will probably, when thinking about what they’ve done, feel incredibly guilty and ashamed, disgusted with themselves. 

And so, eating disorders are a cycle of self-hate and loathe, that doesn’t stop without the help of professionals.

It’s not a phase, but a serious problem that can happen to anyone at any age. The sooner doctors get involved, the better.

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