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Common Eating Disorders and How to Spot Them

There are at least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the USA. In other words, they are extremely common and, contrary to popular belief, definitely, do not only affect young women. 

There are also many different types of eating disorders out there, some of which are easier to pick up on than others. Below is a round-up of some of the most common and what symptoms and signs to look out for. 


It is estimated that 0.9% of American adults will suffer from anorexia at some point in their lifetime. Anorexia is characterized as an obsession with food and controlling and restricting one’s daily calorie intake. This behavior is often driven by a desperate desire to ‘be thin,’ and may lead to self-starvation. Common symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:

  • Rapid, drastic weight loss
  • Being underweight 
  • The person refusing to eat or claiming that he/she ate earlier 
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Brittle nails
  • Low energy
  • Fainting 
  • Dizziness
  • Problems relating to menstruation (in some cases, the sufferer may stop menstruating altogether)
  • Fine hair covering the face and body 


Bulimia is generally more common than anorexia, with an estimated 1.5% of American adults likely to suffer from bulimia nervosa in their lifetime. Bulimia is characterized by periods of binging and purging, often through vomiting, laxative abuse, or excessive exercise. Common symptoms of bulimia include:

  • Discolored or damaged teeth and gums 
  • Frequent visits to the bathroom, especially following mealtimes
  • Abnormal bowel functioning 
  • Problems relating to menstruation (similarly to anorexia sufferers, the person living with bulimia may stop menstruating altogether)
  • Heartburn caused by irritation to the esophagus 
  • Constant dieting
  • Eating in secret/hiding food

Binge Eating Disorder 

Although the least widely reported on, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. In fact, statistics claim that around 2.8% of American adults will suffer from binge eating disorder at some point or another. Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by using binge eating (consuming large amounts of food) in an effort to deal with stress, negative feelings, and other issues. BED is similar to bulimia, with the exception that most sufferers will not purge following a binge eating episode. Common symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder include:

  • Consuming large amounts of food in a short space of time
  • Feeling unable to control how much you eat or to stop yourself once you start
  • Eating despite feeling full
  • Eating quickly 
  • Eating alone or in secret
  • Feeling depressed, angry or anxious about your eating habits
  • Regular dieting 

If ever you suspect that a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder of any kind, or if you suspect that you, yourself, may be in need of assistance, it is important that you seek help immediately from a center specializing in eating disorders, such as the Eden Anorexia Treatment Las Vegas

Eating disorders can have a massive impact on a person’s health if left untreated, and these disorders often become more and more difficult to recover from the longer they are ignored or remain undetected. If in doubt, get help!

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