An eating disorder can manifest in many forms; this can either be through a person eating very little and thus risking their health through malnutrition, or it can be the opposite in regards to binge eating and gaining unhealthy weight and maintaining unhealthy diet choices.
Eating disorders are classified as mental health issues, and it’s important that, if you notice any signs that a loved one or person close to you may be struggling with an eating disorder, you offer help, and don’t ignore the problem.
Here are a few indicators that your friend may have an eating disorder.
- Changes in Weight
It’s common for people to either gain or loses a little weight during their lifetime, but significant and drastic changes in a short period of time can be indicators of something more. If your friend is suddenly speaking excessively about the want or need to lose weight, and you notice they are barely eating, and pointedly looking thinner, there may be a problem.
Likewise, if your friend seems to be indulging a lot more in unhealthy eating habits, and doesn’t seem able to control themselves in regards to binge eating, along with drastically gaining weight, this can also be a red flag.
- Changes in Behavior and Mood
As mentioned, an eating disorder is a mental health issue, which means you also need to be on the lookout for any signs of low mood, depression, or anxiety which could be contributing to your friend’s unhealthy eating habits. They may suddenly become more irritable and withdrawn than usual and may begin to decline offers to social occasions where they may not have direct access to food.
Changes in behavior can also be directly related to mealtimes; your friend may suddenly refuse to eat in front of others, become obsessive over their own meal preparation, or even display compulsive tendencies over food in terms of the order in which they eat.
Any changes are significant and need to be addressed. There are professional clinics who specialize in helping people suffering from mental health and eating disorders, such as Eden Treatment, and it’s a good idea to approach them for valuable advice.
- Changes in Exercise Regime
It isn’t a negative thing if your friend suddenly becomes more interested in exercising more and staying healthy, but an obsessive outlook on fitness can be a signal that something more is going on. If your friend has significantly increased their exercise routine without increasing their calorie intake to even it out, this can be dangerous. Also, if they become anxious or irritable when not able to exercise, this suggests addiction and a mental health issue directed towards fitness and weight, which may border on obsession.
Try to be savvier to their routine; for example, if your friend is constantly turning down social plans with you in order to exercise instead, and this is a regular occurrence, this could be an indication of a problem and their inability to stop.