Categories: Health

The Signs And Symptoms Of Eating Disorders

August 3, 2015

One of the specialised treatment services offered by Philippe Jacquet, one of the top recognised psychotherapists in London, focuses in on addressing eating disorders. Mr. Jacquet has a personal experience with eating disorders and recovery and has spent his career in becoming a specialist in assisting patients with these conditions.

Parents, loved ones, and spouses of people with suspected eating disorders are often uncertain if the changes in behaviours, and the changes in weight they note, are serious or are simply the results of a diet or overall lifestyle change. The reality is that what may appear to be healthy and perhaps even desirable quickly turns to a potentially life-threatening condition when eating disorders are present.

Eating disorders in the United Kingdom, as well as around the world, one the most deadly of all mental health conditions. They are not just about food; they are about a combination of several factors, including genetics, social, behavioural and psychological factors. Failing to address all components of the condition will not provide a holistic treatment and will increase the risk of relapse and also significantly increase the risk of physical health problems or even death.

To understand the symptoms of eating disorders it is important to look at each separately. If you aren’t sure what your loved one may be diagnosed with simply recognising the warning signs and symptoms can help you to get them the help they need from a central London psychotherapist who can provide a diagnosis.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is perhaps the most well-known of all eating disorders, and also the most deadly. This condition includes an obsession with weight loss coupled with an unrealistic and unhealthy ideas about body image.

Often these individuals see themselves as fat even when extremely underweight, and they may be obsessive about the foods they eat, the amounts they eat, and combinate that with intensive exercise. They are also typically involved in the use of laxatives and diuretics, particularly if they go off their highly restrictive eating plans.

Other common signs to watch for include:

  • Hiding weight loss with baggy clothing
  • Loss of muscle and physical weakness
  • Amenorrhea (absence of the menstrual cycle)
  • Won’t eat with the family or eats only very specific quantities of some foods
  • Constant discussion about calories, weight, image, clothing sizes
  • Weight loss at all costs is the goal
  • Inability to eat outside of the plan
  • Agitation, irritation, loss of concentration, memory problems, mood swings

It is important to realise that anorexia can occur in both teens and adults, males and females, and can even be found in younger children under the age of 12, although this is less common.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is more common in teens and adults, and it is often seen concurrently with issues such as depression and anxiety. Binge eating disorder is associated with sudden and uncontrolled periods of eating without any purging following the behaviour.

This binging is done in private and is often hidden from the family for months before it is discovered. Typical symptoms of binge eating include:

  • People eating on a dieting plan, but gaining weight
  • Food missing from the cupboards, particularly high sugar and high carbohydrate foods
  • Hoarding or hiding of food in bedrooms or other private rooms of the home or the workplace
  • Large numbers of empty wrappers found in the garbage, or garbage hidden where wrappers cannot be found
  • Sudden disappearances by an individual and credit or debit card charges for food that are excessive

Binge eating disorder is a very hidden condition and can be the most difficult for families to detect. Seeing a psychotherapist if you suspect this is an issue for a loved one can provide the support needed to seek help.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is like binge eating disorder, but it also includes purging behaviour following the binge. This purging can take several different possibilities or combinations, typically including the use of laxatives, diuretics, fasting, induced vomiting or the use of any combination of the above. It is also not uncommon for extreme exercise to be use as a purging mechanism.

Typical signs of bulimia include:

  • Neck and throat pains and swelling
  • Digestive problems including chronic diarrhoea brought on by laxative use
  • Extreme dehydration
  • Dizziness and extreme muscle fatigue due to metabolic imbalances
  • Obsession with losing weight
  • Extreme dieting followed by secret binging behaviours
  • Dental decay from stomach acid in the mouth
  • Scars on the knuckles and hands from inducing vomiting

Most people with bulimia are not underweight, but they have serious health risks. Seeking help for this, or any other suspected eating disorder, starts with seeing a London eating disorder specialist.

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