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Signs that May Pinpoint an Eating Disorder

Apr 10, 2018 | Treatment, Wellness

Eating disorders affect 8 percent of the American population which comes to 3 percent of the total world population. Scary to think that many of these persons that struggle with an eating disorder fall under the radar because of their obscure signs and symptoms. The more obvious clues that someone is grappling with an eating disorder can be seen through a significant difference in their weight, eating too much or too little, exhibiting food rituals, poor body image, retreating to the bathroom, excessive exercise, or not eating in front of others. Knowing some of the inconspicuous indicators of an eating disorder are important, so that if someone needs help, they can obtain the support that they need.

Feeling continuously cold

Due to malnutrition and a lower percentage of body fat, especially in persons with anorexia nervosa, someone can appear to be cold most of the time. They may wear sweatshirts and heavy clothing during warm weather climates. Body fat helps someone to endure cold weather and without the necessary body fat, one can even be prone to developing hypothermia.

Fine body hair

The body’s effort to keep warm comes in the form of lanugo, which is a soft, fur-like hair that occurs on the arms, face, and other body parts. This symptom of an eating disorder can indicate starvation that develops with the deprivation of nutrients for an extended period.  

Dry skin

Dehydration occurs with bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Using laxatives, purging, or starvation dehydrates the body especially on the skin. Blotchy, dry skin becomes apparent the longer dehydration lasts. One prognostic sign of bulimia is having calluses and discoloring on the knuckles or back of the hand from self-induced vomiting called Russell’s Sign.

Swollen cheeks

Gland tissues are constantly under attack from stomach acid when people with bulimia purge often enough. Someone who has bulimia will begin to get swollen cheeks as a natural reaction to sustained vomiting.

Complains of gastrointestinal problems

Someone that has an eating disorder will frequently experience problems with their GI tract including abdominal distention, gas, bloating, and possibly rectal pain. Delayed movement creates an impairment in the digestive tract along with a sensitiveness to their intestinal nerve cells.  

People that battle eating disorders try to keep their disorder from becoming noticeable to others. Even as their health deteriorates, they will continue to maintain their eating disorder in effort to hide it from others. Acquiring education about the telltale signs that might indicate that someone has an eating disorder is important to learn, so that you can assist them in getting the help that they need.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center is a 5-week extensive treatment program that can help a person that is addicted to drugs or alcohol become sober. Our holistic therapy and 12-Step aspects combined can help keep our clients in recovery for the long-haul.

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