10 Warning Signs Of Anorexia

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

10 Warning Signs Of Anorexia

Anorexia is rarely ever solely a body image issue. Most people who suffer from anorexia also suffer from deep emotional issues that are not properly managed with healthy coping skills. Without healthy coping skills, a person with anorexia turns to unhealthy and dangerous eating habits to cope with their unsettled feelings.

People who suffer from anorexia will engage in harmful behaviors to maintain a sense of control. With this sense of control, there is an illusion of being safe from harm or emotional upset.

The behaviors that come from anorexia can be seductive, and can consume a person quite quickly. That is why it is important to be aware of warning signs of anorexia.

Warning signs of anorexia that include:

1. Binging and purging.

Binging and purging is the act of eating an exorbitant amount of food within a small amount of time, and expelling it from the body through means of inducing vomiting.

2. Obsession with calorie content of foods.

People with anorexia will do what they can to avoid weight gain. This may include cutting calories, skipping meals, and limiting caloric intake as much as possible to avoid weight gain.

3. Avoiding social events or gatherings that involve eating.

A person with anorexia will feel uncomfortable with eating around others. They will often only eat alone, and will use excuses like they are not feeling well or they are not hungry to avoid revealing problematic eating habits.

4. Excessive exercise.

As a compensatory behavior to prevent weight gain, a person with anorexia may engage in excessive exercise to lose weight. Excessive exercise is the act of pushing the body past the point of exhaustion.

A person with anorexia may exercise for hours at a time, and continue to exercise even if injured. This can be especially dangerous because anorexia causes malnutrition, which means the body does not have the fuel it needs to engage in such rigorous activity. This puts strain on the muscles, organs and brain.

5. Covering up body with baggy clothes.

A person with anorexia is ashamed of their body and does not want people to know about their efforts to lose weight quickly. They are aware that the rate in which they are losing weight may alarm others, so in effort to avoid being noticed a person with anorexia may wear baggy clothes.

The behavior of wearing baggy clothes also comes from the poor perception of their own body image. They see someone who is overweight and unsightly in the mirror, and try to hide that image from others.

6. Irritability.

A person who suffers from anorexia will be irritable, especially when confronted with concerns or comments about eating habits or weight. Anorexia causes emotional issues and extreme sensitivity to their condition. This causes them to get defensive, and lash out at those who challenge their beliefs or behavior.

7. Rapid weight loss.

The efforts to prevent weight gain, like fasting, limiting caloric intake, and excessive exercising, will cause rapid weight loss.

8. Belief that they are overweight.

A person who suffers from anorexia will not see what everyone else sees when they look in the mirror. They will see all of their internal turmoil manifested in their body image. Regardless of how thin they are, they will see someone who is overweight and unsightly in the mirror.

A person with anorexia truly believes what they see in the mirror, and will behave in unhealthy ways, like hating their body, avoiding contact with a mirror and situations where they show the shape of their body.

9. Thinning hair and brittle nails.

The lack of proper nutrition will cause thinning hair and brittle nails, and cause poor skin health.

10. Poor muscle tone.

Through malnutrition, a person with anorexia will suffer from poor muscle tone. This will lead to fatigue, fragile bones, and brittle nails. In more severe cases, organ failure and deterioration of muscle tissue may occur.

If you or someone you know may be suffering from anorexia, take the first step toward healing by consulting with a doctor or mental health professional.

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