Distress Signals for Eating Disorders

When someone:

-Fasts or severely restricts food intake
-Hides or sneaks food
-Spends excessive time in the bathroom after meals
-Vomits, takes laxatives, diet pills or other medications to lose weight
-Has lost a significant amount of weight
-Is tired and depressed
-Can't concentrate
-Has irregular periods, swollen glands or joints, broken blood vessels or bloodshot eyes
-Wears layers of clothes even in warm weather
-Faints or passes out


When these or other signs are present, professional help is urgently needed. Make an appointment with a physician and with an expert in eating disorders to find out how serious this is and to design a treatment plan that will help you cope.


What Helps?

Usually people with eating disorders need an interdisciplinary approach, including individual and family or couples therapy, nutritional counseling, medical monitoring, and sometimes medications or group therapy. Depending on the severity, inpatient, day hospital, residential treatment, or even tube-feeding or intravenous fluids may be necessary.

The sooner someone gets treatment, the more likely it is that person will recover. Get help soon. Treatment is effective. As many as 75 percent of those afflicted by anorexia or bulimia will recover. The remaining 25 percent will be chronically ill and some will die. Family or marital therapy significantly improves the possibility of recovery. Family members and loved ones need to understand that the problem is not a simple one. Advice to "just eat" wont help. The eating and body image issues cover up much more complicated feelings. The eating disorder is an illogical system of thoughts and behaviors, and is an attempt to solve deep self-esteem and identity problems and gain a sense of control over ones life. But, remember that there is hope and effective treatment for eating disorders.