Eating Disorders: Signs and Symptoms

​By Suzanne Snyder, L.C.S.W., ACCESS Director of Behavioral Health
December 17, 2015

Facts About Eating Disorders?

  • Up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from eating disorders in the United States.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
  • Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents.

The most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. ACCESS provides support, resources and hope to individuals struggling with eating disorders in our communities. Patients are initially assessed by their primary care physician and, if necessary, the physician and a behavioral health consultant will work together as part of an integrated care team to create a treatment plan that best fits the patient's needs. 

It is important to know the warning signs of eating disorders. When people are familiar with the signs and symptoms of eating disorders, they are able to quickly identify when they, or their loved ones, are engaging in unhealthy eating habits.   

According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of eating disorders include:

  • Skipping meals and making excuses for not eating.
  • Focusing excessively on healthy eating and exercise.
  • Making own meals rather than eating what the family eats.
  • Withdrawing from normal social activities.
  • Worrying or complaining constantly about being fat and talking about losing weight.
  • Checking in the mirror frequently for perceived flaws.
  • Eating large amounts of sweets or high fat foods repeatedly.
  • Using dietary supplements and laxatives for weight loss.
  • Forming calluses on the knuckles from inducing vomiting.
  • Leaving during meals to use the toilet.
  • Eating much more food in a meal or snack than is considered normal.
  • Expressing depression, disgust, shame or guilt about eating habits.
  • Eating in secret.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has an eating disorder, seek help immediately. Contact ACCESS to schedule an appointment at one of our community health centers throughout DuPage and Cook counties.

Statistics: http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/