Home > Signs & Symptoms > Behavioural Signs of Eating Disorders

Behavioural Signs of Eating Disorders

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 20 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Eating Disorders anorexia Nervosa

The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa (anorexia), bulimia nervosa (bulimia) and binge eating disorder. Though these eating disorders manifest themselves in different ways, they are each based on the underlying idea that the individuals who suffer from them can not separate their emotions from their eating habits, or in fact choose to use their eating habits to express their emotions, and this skews both the way and the amount that they eat.

Behavioural Signs of Anorexia
Anorexia is an eating disorder that manifests itself through an intense fear of gaining weight and body fat, and results in behaviours such as extreme dieting, outright fasting and excessive exercising to burn calories. Most anorexics do not recognise their behaviours as dangerous and may be so rigid in their regimes that they are unwilling to consider acting in a different way. Many anorexics engage in behaviours such as:
  • Obsessively counting calories.
  • Skipping meals.
  • “Playing” with or pushing food around a plate rather than eating it.
  • Hiding food (in a napkin, under a plate, etc.) to avoid eating it.
  • Lying about having eaten in an attempt to avoid a meal or snack.
  • Avoiding social events which require eating or involve food.
  • Eating only a limited number or type of food.
  • Exercising excessively, particularly after or “to make up for” eating.
  • Dramatically losing weight.
  • Showing excessive interest in weight, body image and fasting.
  • Hiding behind loose or baggy clothing.
  • Displaying low energy levels.
  • Frequently falling ill.
  • Sleeping excessively, including during the day.
  • Showing low or no sex drive.
Behavioural Signs of Bulimia
Bulimia is an eating disorder that manifests itself through binge eating followed by purging behaviours such as vomiting or taking laxatives. Many bulimics engage in behaviours such as:
  • Binging, or eating a great amount of food in one sitting.
  • Purging, or attempting to get rid of eaten food by inducing vomiting or taking laxatives or diuretics.
  • Hiding the reserved for binges including bread, pasta, sweets, desserts, crisps and ice cream.
  • Lying about what has been eaten.
  • Purging in secret.
  • Hiding items such as laxatives or diuretics.
  • Displaying concern for body weight, body shape and overall image.
  • Frequently complaining of sore throats (brought on by repeated vomiting).
  • Frequently complaining of dental problems (also brought on by repeated vomiting).
  • Hiding behind loose or baggy clothing.
  • Showing low or no sex drive.
Behavioural Signs of Binge Eating Disorder
Those suffering from binge eating disorder will consume large amounts of food at one sitting but will not purge or rid themselves of this food afterwards. Many binge eaters engage in behaviours such as:
  • Ingesting an excessive amount of food, even if they are not hungry.
  • Eating until they feel uncomfortable or sick.
  • Hiding their eating habits due to shame or embarrassment.
  • Hiding secret stashes of food for binges.
  • “Grazing” for as long as food is available.
  • Emotional eating, or eating when they feel stressed out or overwhelmed.
  • Feeling out of control, ashamed and/or guilty both during and after a binge.
  • Expressing disgust at their eating, weight, body or appearance.
Eating disorders are diagnosed using mental health criteria but most of the signs of eating disorders are behavioural. Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder may all be recognised by the eating disorders in which sufferers engage and changing these behaviours is an important part of treatment.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • dorahallows
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I started eating walls in my early teens and I go through phases where I can control it and don't get the urge to eat it anymore but the past two…
    16 April 2018
  • JoJO
    Re: Pica Disorder
    @Kay - you really need to see a doctor about this because it is not right and it could ruin your health. Please seek some advice.
    13 April 2018
  • Kay
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I have a problem i eat walls so much and i dont know how to controll it im only 13 and i been eating wall for 6 years. All around my house i had made…
    13 April 2018
  • TamsO
    Re: Eating by Texture
    @ Paul - can you drink smoothies and fruit juice? Vitamin tablets are an option to consider also, but they don't replace the fibre. There are…
    12 April 2018
  • Paul
    Re: Eating by Texture
    Ever since I can remember I have had real issues with the texture of fruit and veg to the point where I’m gagging and almost to the point where…
    10 April 2018
  • Bloom
    Re: Pica Disorder
    I eat wall white putti(white cement) applied on the wall since 12 ,every time my parents use to paint it and I used to ruin it by eating. They took me…
    8 April 2018
  • Imbubblezz
    Re: Eating by Texture
    I feel like I have found my long, lost family! I keep reading about AFRID, bit it speaks about underweight people - and this most definitely is…
    5 April 2018
  • Hof
    Re: Oesophagus Problems for Bulimics
    @Andprice - if you have been bulimic for over 20 years, then it is likely you will have some stomach problems as a result.…
    3 April 2018
  • Andprice
    Re: Oesophagus Problems for Bulimics
    I've been in recovery for ten years...with very mild lapses (e.g. Forced vomiting after drinking excessively although this is…
    2 April 2018
  • KerryH
    Re: Heart Problems and Eating Disorders
    Butterfly84... Unfortunately, if you do not eat then your body will continue to defy you. The stomach distention will…
    22 March 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the EatingDisorderExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.