Eating disorders are often misunderstood. What’s important to note here is that an affected person might not always have sunken eyes and hollow cheeks. Eating disorders can affect everyone regardless of their age or gender.
It is difficult to detect if someone might have an eating disorder. This is because often people do not realize that they have a problem. And when they do, it is accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame or fear. Also, their behavior is their way of dealing with the stress in their life.
Remember that eating disorders are dangerous and deadly. However, due to the stigma attached to it, it is very difficult for people to seek help.
Here are some warning signs you must look out for.
- Skipping meals or going for long periods without eating. A person who almost always excuses himself from eating may have a problem
- Excessive vomiting or ingesting laxatives to get rid of the food.
- An exhausting exercise schedule bordering almost on compulsion. Not even taking breaks in case of emergencies or sickness.
- Sudden, abnormal changes in eating habits or tastes, refusing to eat particular foods and labeling them as bad.
- Secretive, deceptive behaviors about consuming food, eating secretly or hiding what you eat from others.
- Eating in excess or binging on foods in secret is also a sign of a food disorder.
- Obsessing about fad diets, always discontented about body figures and setting impossible weight loss goals for own self.
- Being paranoid about eating around others or complete social withdrawal from eating out or eating dinner gatherings.
- Sudden changes in weight, loss, and
- Being tired or lethargic almost all the time.
- Feeling cold or hot, sudden changes in body temperature.
- Fainting spells.
- Hormonal imbalances and changes in the menstrual cycle indicate a serious disorder.
- An obsessive compulsion about gaining weight, or depression or anxiety about body and fitness.
- Sudden flashes of anger and moodiness and a high sensitivity about anything related to the body or food.
- Almost always being out of control and inability to handle emotions or any situations at hand.
These are just a few signs of eating disorders which can destroy a person’s life and take him down to the bottomless pits of despair and depression. It is very important to detect a disorder before it takes possession of your mind, body, and soul. However, this is easier said than done.
A normal, healthy person may be in the throes of an eating disorder but it may go unnoticed because he looks healthy on the outside and an eating disorder attacks subtly at first.
What is most dangerous about an eating disorder is that it is a lonely place to be. It isolates you and it becomes harder to reach out and seek help. It keeps you back from the surrounding people. It fears, shames and disgusts you so you hide from your loved ones. This disorder is a never-ending vicious cycle which isolates you from social gatherings revolving around food, from dinner events with loved ones and ends up with a major social withdrawal and deceptive secrecy about eating behaviors which can be deadly.
What is important for recovery and to come out of this black hole is the realization that an eating disorder is treatable. It has nothing to do with size, shape or weight or body mass. It has only to do with what is going on in the mind. It is very important to educate everyone about this disorder so that a person struggling can be guided on to the road of recovery.
A person needs constant help, care and attention to come out of these behavior patterns. Even if he is on the road to recovery, he needs constant therapy, encouragement and a support system so he may not relapse into the black pit hovering above his head.
If you see someone recovering from an eating disorder, never pass undue comments which may create panic. Always support, encourage and protect him from himself. It is time to join hands, uplift people all around us and reach out to the people suffering in silence.
It is time to kick out the stigma surrounding this disorder so people can reach out for help. If you or your loved one need help with an eating disorder, you can visit a healthcare facility or schedule an online appointment with your GP using a trustworthy telemedicine platform.