Eating Disorders – know the signs

For this year’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) I am putting together a series of short blogs about eating disorders.  To begin with, would you be able to recognise the signs of a potential eating disorder in a friend or loved one?    This list is far from comprehensive, however here are some:

– being very stressed around food and mealtimes
– being secretive about food and eating
– restricting or cutting out food types or food groups (such as ‘carbs’ or dairy)
– frequent dieting or calorie counting
– food refusal
– being rigid and inflexible about food as well as in general
– rituals around food
– avoiding social eating
– over-exercising
– excessive walking: choosing to walk rather than drive/use public transport even for long distances
– spending long periods of time in the toilet or bathroom
– frequent vomiting and/or use of laxatives
– unable to stop eating
– eating large quantities of food in one go
– frequent night time eating
– grazed knuckles
– sudden changes in weight (loss or gain)
– weakness, dizziness, fainting
– feeling cold in warm temperatures
– loss or change in menstrual periods (females)
– always tired
– preoccupation with body size or shape
– distorted body image
– fear of weight gain
– irrational thinking
– social withdrawal
– increased anxiety, depression, paranoia, irritability, anger

Of course, many of these symptoms can be present for reasons other than eating disorders, so it’s important not to jump to cocnclusions.  However if someone you know is displaying more than one of these and recently seems to have changed the way they behave around food in a way that is worrying you,  you may want to consider the possibility of an eating disorder and encourage them to seek help.


National Centre for Eating Disorders:


NHS information about eating disorders:





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