It can be challenging to tell when a loved one suffers from an eating disorder, as many people try to keep their struggles hidden. However, some signs might indicate that someone is dealing with an eating disorder. If you suspect that someone you love is struggling, it’s essential to be supportive and get them help if necessary. Suppose a family member is confirmed to have bulimia nervosa. In that case, you can help them with the options for treating bulimia nervosa.
Here are ten signs that a loved one may be suffering from an eating disorder:
1. You notice obsessive behaviors about their weight or body
Individuals dealing with eating disorders often focus obsessively on what they eat, how much they weigh, and their appearance in general. They may be preoccupied with food to the point that it interferes with their daily activities. People who suffer from eating disorders are not always overweight. Some people suffering from anorexia attempt to maintain a normal weight or even lose weight to fit in socially.
2. Behaviors lead to hiding their behaviors at all costs
People suffering from eating disorders will go out of their way to hide their behaviors to avoid scrutiny about them. They may also try to keep up appearances by controlling what they eat when other people watch.
3. They try desperately to control their weight and food intake
It’s common for individuals with eating disorders to attempt to lose weight to be perceived as more attractive by others. Still, they might also do it to feel better about themselves. If your loved one seems overly concerned with their body or weight, they may have an eating disorder.
4. Their moods change drastically and frequently
Individuals suffering from eating disorders can experience drastic mood changes. These mood changes can include irritability and anxiousness if they’re preoccupied with how much they’ve eaten or what foods they’re consuming that day. This is another sign that someone close to you might need help recovering from an eating disorder such as bulimia nervosa.
5. They repeatedly make excuses to avoid eating or going out to eat
Suppose someone you love is making excuses to avoid eating. It can signify that they’re struggling with a disorder such as bulimia nervosa. It’s important not to ignore their behaviors and encourage them to help an eating disorder.
6. They frequently give up activities to focus on controlling their weight
People dealing with anorexia might quit hobbies or stop exercising. In some cases, they feel that maintaining their weight is the only thing that matters, indicating other mental health issues. Suppose your loved one stops doing something they enjoy to focus on losing weight. It might be time for intervention before the situation worsens.
7. They’re incredibly critical of their appearance
People suffering from anorexia might be overly critical about how they look, which can lead to dangerous behaviors that negatively affect overall health. It’s worth noting that many people with eating disorders cannot focus on anything other than their weight and appearance. Still, it’s also possible for them to lose interest in activities they used to enjoy because of how fixated they control their body weight or food intake.
8. Their friends are worried about them
Suppose your loved one’s friends are starting to express concern about their behavior. That might indicate a problem with an eating disorder such as bulimia nervosa. Eating disorders often cause friends to notice changes in their behavior or mood, leading them to step in and offer help.
9. They seem withdrawn when the topic of food arises
Talking about food is a normal part of life. However, someone struggling with bulimia nervosa may not want to talk about foods they enjoy or how often they eat related to weight loss or dieting. This doesn’t mean that every conversation has to revolve around food. Still, your loved one might avoid talking about it altogether if they’re struggling with an eating disorder such as binge-eating disorder (BED).
10. Their preoccupation interferes with their relationships
Eating disorders are severe mental health conditions that no one shouldn brush off under any circumstances. Suppose your loved one’s behavior has changed to the point where they can no longer function normally in their relationships. That might be time for an intervention. Don’t hesitate to contact a counselor or therapist if you think your loved one is struggling with an eating disorder such as bulimia nervosa and needs professional help.
The bottom line is that the best way to help a loved one dealing with any eating disorder is to encourage them to see a mental health professional as soon as possible to begin treatment that will help them recover from their illness.