Eating Disorder: Warning Signs & Symptoms

Topic: Psychiatry
Words: 619 Pages: 2

Eating disorders are serious and complex illnesses that have an adverse impact on the quality of life of the affected individual. They include abnormal attitudes and behaviors with regard to food, exercise, and self-image. The video “Warning signs & symptoms of an eating disorder” by the National Eating Disorders Association (2017) informs the public about possible indicators of the problem. It is worth noting that the video is not diagnostic but informative, with the purpose of improving people’s knowledge about eating disorders.

There are various warning signs and symptoms that might indicate a problem but the key characteristic to look for is change. For instance, changes in eating habits, exercise routine, calorie intake, body weight, body image, or self-perception might be related to an eating disorder. According to National Eating Disorders Association (2017), warning signs and symptoms can be physical, psychological, or emotional. They can change, and more than one symptom can be present at a time. This characteristic makes the problem complicated and emphasizes the need to seek professional help as soon as possible to ensure recovery and positive outcomes.

In particular, people with an eating disorder tend to be obsessed with appearance, shape, weight, and perceived flaws. They constantly check themselves in the mirror and are often unsatisfied with their body and looks. As a result, negative or distorted self-image and self-esteem tied to appearance can be named as other warning symptoms (National Eating Disorders Association, 2017). Obsessive behavior with regard to appearance can be an alarming sign of an eating disorder.

Another symptom worth worrying about is one’s extreme interest in dangerous dieting. In particular, cutting out entire food groups such as sugar, carbs, fats, or dairy products can lead to health problems and aggravate the person’s physical and mental state (National Eating Disorders Association, 2017). Clean eating, vegetarianism, and veganism are also considered potential indicators of an eating disorder. Withdrawal from the usual social activities, particularly meeting other people, is another symptom that can be observed in people with an eating disorder. Changes in personality can be seen, including mood swings, depression, irritability, or, on the contrary, lack of emotion. Excessive exercising habits or exercising even when one is ill or injured is another alarming indicator.

In addition, there is a number of behaviors and attitudes related to food that can be a sign of a problem. According to National Eating Disorders Association (2017), individuals with an eating disorder can hoard and hide food, eat in secret, as well as disappear after the meal, particularly in the bathroom. Some people can develop food rituals, including eating very slowly, cutting food into tiny pieces, chewing each bite very thoroughly. Others can hide food wrappers or containers out of guilt and shame. Furthermore, another warning sign is large quantities of disappearing food due to binge-eating.

Finally, gastrointestinal (GI) distress can be a result of the whole GI system’s slowdown, leading to constipation, acid reflux, and other symptoms due to malnutrition and restrictive eating. It is essential not to ignore the problem and seek help since eating disorders are serious and can be life-threatening. By turning to professionals as soon as possible, one can increase their chances for a full recovery and improved quality of life.

There are three aspects of the video that increased my knowledge regarding eating disorders. Firstly, I learned that the main warning signs of the problem include changes in attitudes or behaviors with regard to food, appearance, and self-perception. Secondly, the video informed me about the variety of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms that vary in different people and might indicate an eating disorder. Thirdly, I realized that the presence of these warning signs does not necessarily mean that the person is ill.


National Eating Disorders Association. (2017). Warning signs & symptoms of an eating disorder [Video]. YouTube. Web.

Schizophrenia: Prevalence and Treatment
Secondary Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Children