Symptoms Of Typical Eating Disorders


 In our weight-biased culture, when a fat person loses weight, it is almost always seen as a good thing. Even when that weight loss is caused by an eating disorder. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

Anorexia: Common Symptoms and Warning Signs

Anorexia, also called anorexia nervosa, most typically involves an obsession with one’s weight and calorie intake. In an effort to combat weight gain, patients with anorexia resort to starving themselves or at least eat the bare minimum to survive. Of course, this dramatic restriction of eating causes all kinds of symptoms, the most common being the following:

  • severe weight loss
  • extremely thin appearance
  • tiredness
  • dizziness
  • brittle hair and nails
  • constipation
  • very susceptible to the cold
  • irregular heart beat
  • trouble getting warm
  • dehydration
  • fainting
  • dry skin
  • brittle bones

These symptoms are developed when anorexia has been present for a substantial amount of time. This means that there are some warning signs present. Typical warning signs of anorexia nervosa include:

  • refusal to eat
  • obsession with weight
  • obsession with appearance
  • skips meals
  • weighing food
  • obsessing over calories and fat content
  • eats a handful of foods that are extremely low calorie
  • cutting food into tiny pieces
  • spitting food out before swallowing it

Anorexia: The Typical Demographic




Anorexia nervosa typically inflicts women more than men. Teenage girls are the most susceptible to anorexia, as they are extremely impressionable. However, pre-teen girls and boys are both at risk of anorexia. Those with some kind of mental illness or emotional disorder are also much more susceptible to anorexia, especially if they are younger.


Eating disorders are not a choice. No one chooses to lose all of their friends, because they cannot go anywhere that there will be food. — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C

Bulimia: Common Symptoms and Warning Signs

Bulimia involves binging on food, typically an unreasonable amount, followed by an episode of purging, which involves forced vomiting. These episodes are usually referred to as a binge-purge cycle. Finally, here are the symptoms of bulimia as a whole:

  • bloating
  • dehydration
  • fainting and dizziness
  • fatigue
  • seizures
  • irregular heart beat

As for warning signs, there are different warning signs for both binging and purging. Here are the warning signs for binging:

  • eating a very unreasonable amount of food
  • the feeling of helplessness once the binging begins
  • hoarding food
  • eating until fullness causes physical pain
  • food is missing, especially food that is high in calories or fat content

After the binging episode, the individual is usually overcome with immense guilt and shame. They turn to purging to try and reverse these feelings. Here are the warning signs for purging:

  • going to the bathroom after meals
  • weak, rotting, or damaged teeth
  • chubby cheeks (caused by the salivary glands being swollen)
  • sores in the mouth
  • injuries on one’s hands from induced vomiting
  • scratchy voice

Feelings of shame and guilt about one’s self image can cause individuals to continue on a cycle of stress if they do not have a productive outlet. — Greta Gleissner LCSW

Bulimia: The Typical Demographic

Bulimia is more prevalent in women, but it does affect a number of men as well. Just like anorexia, bulimia is much more common in teenagers and young adults. Quite a lot of those with bulimia also have some kind of mood or anxiety disorder, the most common being depression.

Binge Eating: Common Symptoms and Warning Signs




Binge eating is discussed much less in comparison to anorexia and bulimia, but it’s just as dangerous. Binge eating is when an individual eats much more than they need to, and it usually coincides with another disorder, usually a mental illness. Therefore, many of the symptoms of binge eating are emotional and mental. Here are the most common:

  • depression
  • disgust
  • anxiety
  • shame
  • guilt
  • feelings of losing control

The warning signs of binge eating are a bit similar to those listed for the binge portion of bulimia. However, purging is not involved. Here are the most common warning signs:

  • eating huge amounts of food
  • eating when full
  • eating extremely fast or uncontrollably
  • insisting on eating alone
  • hiding food


Binge Eating: The Typical Demographic

Surprisingly enough, those who binge eat usually are not obese. Unlike other disorders, binge eating disorder inflicts people who are usually normal in weight, making it more difficult to identify the warning signs. However, it’s a common misconception that those who are overweight are binge eaters. Even more interesting, binge eating doesn’t have a specific demographic. There are individuals from many different backgrounds and of many different ages who have been diagnosed.