Should It Be Obvious When My Friend Has An Eating Disorder?

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One of the biggest misconceptions about eating disorders is that they are obvious. Eating disorders are dangerously illustrated with extremism. Unfortunately, people are led to believe that their eating disorder must be in extreme condition to be considered problematic. Even more problematically, that is the standard for treatment for many governments and health institutions. Sadly, many people are left struggling with negative body image, harmful behaviors, and core habits which are detrimental to their holistic health. Anorexia is seen as being skin and bone. Bulimia is seen as people who go to the bathroom after every meal and never gain a pound. Binge eating disorder is seen as someone who gains a tremendous amount of weight and eats all the time. There is a category of eating disorders called otherwise undefined which have no image. Though these images have some validity and truth, their extremism is not the norm. For eating disorders, there simply is no “normal”. Each person experiences their eating disorder in a different way. More importantly, it is often hidden.

Hiding disordered eating behaviors is part of an eating disorder. What should be the most obvious part of an eating disorder is the sneaking suspicion your friend or loved one might be hiding an eating disorder. Though anorexia nervosa does see a lot of weight loss in extreme cases, other eating disorders necessarily do not. Binge eating disorder could include severe weight gain, but it might not happen quickly. Instead, eating disorders tend to live behind closed doors both real and metaphorical.

Changes In Personality

Mood, social relations, friendships, passions, activities- all of these slowly start to change. Eating disorders can cause isolation and a deep fear of being perceived in a certain way.

Changes In Eating

Subtle signs can include eating less with extra condiments or flavoring, pushing food around the plate, causing drama at mealtime, or always having an excuse not to participate in meals. There might be promises of eating something on the way home, fixing something later, or taking something into their room to eat.

Changes In Physical Activity

Exercise can or can not be part of an eating disorder. In order to hide a growing obsession with exercise there might be masks of excitement, encouraging others to participate, or talking excessively about it.

Eating disorders can cause life threatening side effects if they are not treated in a timely matter. Often co-occurring with other mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, it is critical to treat eating disorders from every approach. Aurora Recovery Center offers healing and transformation through recovery of mind, body, and spirit. For more information, call us today at 844-515-STOP.

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