By On October 31st, 2016

5 Warning Signs A Friend Is Struggling With An Eating Disorder

Eating disorder come in a variety of forms and they don’t always look alike. Despite what many believe, detecting an eating disorder isn’t as easy as spotting a young frail-looking woman. However, there are a few warning signs you can watch for if you think a friend or loved on may be struggling with body image or a developing disorder. If you see any of these red flags, it may be sit down and talk with your loved one or seek help.

Obsession with Body Image


Eating disorders don’t tend to come out of nowhere. They typically start with an intense criticism of one’s own body. Those with body image issues or eating disorders may spend extensive amounts of time analyzing their bodies in the mirror or frequently make negative comments about the flaws they see in their body. This is often related to body dysmorphia, where a person sees a distorted version of their own body and is frequently experienced by those with eating disorders.

Changes in Eating Behaviors

For those who live with eating disorders, meals can be an anxiety-fraught endeavor. You might notice a friend making more excuses to skip meals or avoid eating with others. They may even claim to suddenly not like foods they used to love. While this might be an obvious sign for those with restrictive eating disorders like anorexia, it can also signal issues with binge eating. It is common for those who live with binge eating disorder to hide their binges and even go as far as concealing evidence of their eating behaviors from friends and family.


Unhealthy Focus on “Nutrition and Health”

There’s nothing wrong about wanting to take care of your body and make healthy food choices. However, some can take this too far. There is a difference between occasionally choosing a salad and obsessively counting calories and avoiding all foods perceived to be unhealthy. Those with eating disorders often develop a borderline compulsive obsession with making sure they do not go over their “desired” calorie intake. They may even take up fad diets or choose to go vegetarian or vegan to limit calorie intake, without adapting their diet to include the necessary amounts of fats and other essential nutrients.

Over Exercising

People living with eating disorders often develop intense and frequent workout routines for a variety of reasons. Compulsive exercise can help provide an excuse for a quickly diminishing body weight and give the impression that a person is taking care of themselves, even when they are struggling with a serious eating disorder. Compulsive exercise can also be a sign of an obsession with obtaining an “ideal body” or weight that accompanies many eating disorders. If a friend gets flustered or annoyed when they miss a workout, it may be a warning sign – especially if they avoid eating after to make up for missing the workout.

Physical and Emotional Changes


Eating disorders affect a person’s entire body and mind. Those struggling with these disorders may become depressed or withdrawn or show signs of anxiety or apathy for things they were previously invested in. As their disorder gets more severe, they also become more likely to show physical signs like extreme weight loss or gain, graying skin, menstrual issues, fatigue, or fainting.

Do you see these warning signs in a friend or loved one? Give us a call at (888) 298-4673. We can answer any questions you have and see if treatment is the right choice for you.

One Response

  1. Larry Weaver says:

    I did not realize that over exercising could be a sign of an eating disorder. My neighbor spoke to me about how he feels like he needs to exercise all of the time, and I know that he has some trouble with his diet. Perhaps he should speak with a therapist to see if he might have an eating disorder.

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