Common Signs of Eating Disorders
Nearly 10 million females and 1 million males currently battle anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa in this country. Millions more struggle with binge eating. The National Eating Disorders Association reports that the vast majority of sufferers are young:
- More than half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys skip meals, fast, vomit or take laxatives to control their weight.
- The peak onset of eating disorders occurs during puberty and the late teen/early adult years, but symptoms can occur as early as kindergarten. Forty-two percent of first-, second- and third-grade girls want to be thinner.
These statistics are cause for concern, because eating disorders —anorexia in particular—carry the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness, with up to 10 percent of patients dying of the disease.
Early detection is critical in the treatment of eating disorders. While many patients hide their illness, families and friends can be on the lookout for telltale symptoms.
Common signs of anorexia include:
- unexplained weight loss
- compulsive exercise
- complaints of feeling cold
- hair loss
- absent menstruation
Common signs of bulimia include:
- preoccupation with food
- constant dieting without significant weight loss
- food “disappearing” from the house
- swollen salivary glands
- abuse of dieting aids or laxatives
Family is Key
If you suspect your loved one has an eating disorder, suggest he/she see a doctor. Many people suffering from eating disorders refuse to believe they have a problem, even if a diagnosis is made. The key to a successful outcome is a supportive, involved family.
While respecting an individual’s privacy, we know that Family-Based Treatment is a philosophy of care that has revolutionized the treatment of eating disorders. This approach involves a healthy partnership among patients, parents and medical providers. The Charis Center, an eating disorders clinic in Indianapolis that is part of Indiana University Health, follows these methods and is the only treatment center of its kind in the state. Treatment plans are developed and overseen by a multidisciplinary team of physicians, psychologists, dietitians and other experts working together with patients and families.
To schedule an appointment, please contact:
Charis Center for Eating Disorders
6640 Intech Boulevard Suite 195
Indianapolis, IN 46278