Spotting Warning Signs

There can be several kinds of warning signs for EDs, ranging from very visible and obvious to extremely subtle. While there is no comprehensive list and no one-size-fits-all approach to spotting warning signs for eating disorders, what we have compiled is a starting point. These are some of the most commonly observed symptoms – emotional, behavioural and physical.

Warning Sign 1.png

Emotional &
Behavioral
Symptoms

  • In general, attitudes and behaviours that suggest that dieting, weight loss and control of food are becoming increasingly important.

  • Frequent dieting, including refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates, no sugar etc.)

  • Extreme mood swings

  • Focusing on weight, food, calories, carbohydrates, fat grams, and dieting

  • Appears uncomfortable eating around others

  • Food rituals (e.g., eats only a particular type of food or food group [e.g., condiments], excessive chewing, doesn’t allow the foods to touch each other)

  • Not having full meals or having small portions of food at regular meals

  • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities

  • Extreme concern with body size and shape

  • Frequently checking the mirror to see the flaws in appearance

  • Disruption or change in eating patterns

  • Fixation on nutritional content of foods

Physical
Symptoms

  • Noticeable weight fluctuations – significant weight loss or gain

  • Fainting or dizziness

  • Difficulty concentrating, sleeping

  • Issues with dental, skin, hair, and nail health

  • Stomach cramps, other general gastrointestinal problems (acid reflux, constipation, etc.)

  • Loss, delay or disturbance of menstruation in people who menstruate

  • Abnormal laboratory findings (low thyroid and hormone levels, anaemia, low potassium, low red and white blood cell counts)

  • Dental problems, such as cavities, enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity

  • Dry skin and hair, and brittle nails

  • Muscle weakness

  • Impaired immune functioning

  • Musculoskeletal injuries and soreness or pain from overexercising

  • Having low energy levels

  • Feeling cold even when there is warm weather

If you see any or all of these symptoms in yourself, or a loved one, please reach out to us through our helpline or to one of our vetted professionals!