Eating Disorders: Signs and Symptoms

Anorexia

Anorexia Nervosa is a potentially life threatening disorder in which an individual maintains a distorted body image and intentionally restricts caloric intake out of a persistent fear of gaining weight or getting fat. If left untreated, Anorexia wreaks havoc on the body and is potentially fatal.

Effects of Anorexia
  • · The malnutrition and dehydration from restricting can cause respiratory infections, weakness, dizziness, seizures, kidney failure, blindness, heart attack, brain damage and death
  • · Dry skin and hair, yellow brittle nails, hair loss from vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • · Poor circulation resulting in purple extremities and feelings of "pins and needles"
  • · Lanugo, which is a growth of fine hair all over the body to promote warmth
  • · Reduced white blood count
  • · Reduced immune system function
  • · Osteoporosis, which is bone density reduction which causes dry and brittle bones
  • · Iron deficient anemia
  • · Abnormal blood counts
  • · Electrolyte disturbances which can cause heart arrhythmias and heart attacks
  • · The ceasing of the menstrual cycle with an inability to become pregnant
  • · Low blood pressure
  • · Kidney stones and kidney failure
Signs and Symptoms
  • · Intolerance of cold
  • · Fatigue
  • · Dizziness
  • · Moodiness
  • · Preoccupation with food, calories and nutrition
  • · Distorted body image
  • · Thinning or losing hair
  • · Compulsive need to exercise
  • · Dieting when underweight
  • · Lying about or hiding eating habits
  • · Low self esteem
  • · Strange or secretive food rituals

Bulimia

Bulimia Nervosa, is a life threatening disorder where an individual will binge (eat a large amount of food in a short amount of time) and then purge (rid her body of the food) by vomiting, exercising or using laxatives. The binging process may occur because food gives the individual comfort when she is tense and stressed, but then guilt leads to a feeling of dyscontrol which leads to the need for her to unload that guilt by vomiting the food. She may appear to have a normal body size, but actually will be internally suffering from self abuse. Bulimia can cause very serious side effects on the body and if left untreated can also be fatal.

Effects of Bulimia
  • · Tooth decay, gum disease and loss of tooth enamel
  • · Diabetes
  • · Infertility
  • · Arthritis of the jaw
  • · Seizures
  • · Peptic ulcers
  • · Severe acid reflux
  • · Mouth sores
  • · Fatigue
  • · Muscle fatigue and weakness
  • · Cessation of menses
  • · Compromised immune system
  • · Heart arrhythmias, heart attack
  • · Osteoporosis
  • · Kidney failure
Signs and Symptoms
  • · Redness, scars or calluses on knuckles or hands from inducing vomiting
  • · Puffy or swollen cheeks
  • · Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals
  • · Mouth problems from excessive purging
  • · Large amounts of food missing in short time period
  • · Unyielding exercise regimen, regardless of circumstances (health, weather)
  • · Smelling of vomit
  • · Evidence of unnecessary laxative use
  • · Teeth staining
  • · Obsession over food and control of food
  • · Depression
  • · Low self esteem
  • · Lost interest in usual activities; school, friends or hobbies
  • · Extreme concern over body image

Overeating

Overeating also known as Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by an individual who compulsively overeats way past the point of feeling full, while feeling powerless to stop such behavior. It means shamefully and secretly and rapidly gorging large amounts of food. Overeating often leads to obesity, and low self esteem which can in turn lead to the consumption of even more food in a vicious cycle of guilt and shame.

Effects of Overeating
  • · Diabetes
  • · Obesity
  • · High cholesterol
  • · High blood pressure
  • · Heart attack
  • · Stroke
  • · Sleep Apnea
  • · Cancer
  • · Gastrointestinal issues
  • · Gallbladder disease
  • · Depression
  • · Low self esteem
  • · Kidney disease
Signs and Symptoms
  • · Large amounts of food missing in a short amount of time
  • · Eating small amounts in public, but still gaining weight
  • · Depression
  • · Binge eating
  • · Obsession with body weight
  • · Storing and stockpiling food in unusual places
  • · Fatigue
  • · Never feeling satisfied after a meal
  • · Eating throughout the day without meal times
  • · Inability to stop eating