Anorexia: 10 Signs to Know
When it comes to anorexia, 10 signs of this illness can alert you that someone you care about suffers from this eating disorder. The good news is that this condition is treatable, but it's a long road to recovery.
Severe weight loss is likely the first and most obvious sign noticed when someone suffers from anorexia. However, the illness is well under way by the time symptoms become this pronounced. A person affected by anorexia takes on a skeletal look as all the fat stored beneath the skin is lost.
Unrealistic Body Image
The true anorexic is never satisfied with her body and often complains about being fat even though she's quite thin. This can lead to a compulsion for excessive exercise in an effort to loose even more weight. Lack of nutrition and too much exertion leads to exhaustion.
Skipping meals is another hallmark sign of anorexia. People do occasionally skip a meal, but someone suffering from anorexia will develop a pattern of skipping meals and making excuses to avoid being present at mealtimes - especially if that meal involves eating in public.
Some people with anorexia develop odd habits of pushing food around their plate, organizing it or cutting it just so. They can become quite defensive if you point out the behavior. They will also commonly refuse to eat anything that is high in fat or calories, and may actually limit themselves to single type of extremely low-calorie food.
Many people with anorexia become obsessed with learning how many calories are in each food source and keep meticulous count of how many calories they consume. That count is always well under the guidelines for healthy daily consumption.
Unfortunately, many people who suffer from anorexia begin lying about their food consumption to hide the fact that they aren't eating. Sometimes they'll say they've already eaten, other times they'll say they're meeting someone else later for dinner, etc. On a related note, they may also lie about their current weight or claim to have gained a pound or two when in fact, they may have actually lost more weight.
Vomiting After Meals
Even if someone with anorexia agrees to eat, the meal is more often than not followed by a trip to the restroom. Once there, the anorexic will force herself to vomit the food to get it out of her system before it can be digested. This is known as purging, and it is also related to a similar condition known as bulimia.
Camouflaging with Clothes
In an effort to conceal weight loss, many people with anorexia dress in baggy or unseasonally warm clothing to hide their frame.
Diet Pill and Laxative Abuse
Watch for excessive use of diet pills and laxatives. Someone suffering from anorexia may even follow meals with a dose of laxative in an effort to rush the food through the system.
People suffering from prolonged anorexia eventually exhibit signs of a decline in health. Tooth erosion (from purging), weakness and dizziness are just a few signs. As the damage progresses, the person becomes more frail, more internal organs are affected and heart failure becomes imminent. Intervention is needed to prevent death, but the person suffering from the illness has to commit herself to treatment if she is going to recover. Recovery is a lifelong process.
Depression sometimes accompanies anorexia. For more information about this condition, visit 10 Signs of Depression.