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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Eating Disorders >>  Eating Disorder Symptoms
Eating disorders are a group of conditions which are characterized by eating habits that are abnormal. They can involve either the excessive or insufficient intake of food, both of which can be detrimental to the health of a person, both physically and emotionally. Some of the most common eating disorders are binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. They primarily affect females but can affect males as well.
The causes of eating disorders are very complex and are not clearly understood.
There are several behavioral and biological factors that may trigger eating disorders. The signs and symptoms of eating disorders are usually observed right from childhood. Recent researches have shown that those who try to subdue negative feelings by consuming food are most likely to suffer from eating disorders.

There are some eating disorder symptoms which are common to all eating disorders, but there are some specific symptoms for each of the individual disorders too. The most common signs of eating disorders are rapid changes in the weight of a person and the use of food to compensate for emotional upheaval. A person may resort to wear loose or big clothes to hide the changes in their body and may also develop an obsession with weight. It is common to see those suffering from eating disorders complain about their weight problems, yet not be able to stop eating.
In order to keep a control on weight gain, there may be an obsession with exercising continuously. They may avoid eating in company because they feel embarrassed. Anorexics tend to have unusual food rituals, like shifting the food around in the plate so that it seems that food has been eaten, never allowing the fork to touch their lips, chewing food only to spit it out later, and hiding food in strange places like suitcases, cabinets, or under the bed. They do this to avoid eating food, or to stash it away so that it can be eaten later.

Flushing uneaten food down the toilet is also a common problem in those experiencing eating disorders. The eating patterns become vague and secretive but their mind stay preoccupied with thoughts of food and their increasing weight. They may also try to use unhealthy ways to lose weight because of their diminishing body image. They are often seen making self defeating or deprecating statements after they have had a session of binge eating.

If they have been avoiding food, they can experience hair loss and the skin becomes paler or grey in color. They also experience dizziness and headaches and have swollen glands and sore throats. Their self esteem may be very low and they may almost border on considering themselves completely worthless. The manifestation of the body image also extends to other emotional attributes and they may begin to think that they are insignificant, stupid, or unintelligent. To counter this, they may try to seek approval and find solace in acceptance from others.

If they have been avoiding food, the body becomes weak and they may feel cold even when the temperature is warm. Their blood pressure remains low so they feel lethargic and weak. This can also disrupt the menstrual cycle, since the body is not getting enough nutrition. Other physical manifestations include incontinence or constipation and bleeding eyes. The effects of starvation can cause light bruising under the eyes, on the cheeks, and the knuckles. The knuckles may also develop calluses. The personality becomes obsessive and perfectionist. They also either experience a complete loss of sexual desire, or develop several promiscuous relationships. There may be frequent mood swings, depression, and lingering fatigue. Sleep and resting patterns are often disrupted and the individual is likely to suffer from insomnia.
Submitted on January 16, 2014