Common symptoms of eating disorders

Common symptoms of eating disorders

Eating disorders can be very serious. Depending on the nature and stage of the eating disorder, it can have a wide range of physical and psychological implications.

Some of these symptoms are used by certain diagnostic systems in defining an eating disorder and others are not. Some common symptoms and possible consequences are listed below. It is not the intention to be alarmist but simply to be honest and informative.

The majority of problems associated with the various eating disorders can be redressed in recovery. The information on this page is by no means complete, nor should it be taken as authoritative. Anyone with any medical concerns or questions should consult with their GP or a Healthcare Professional.

Below are some of the symptoms that sufferers of particular eating disorders may experience. Please note that it is not a complete or comprehensive list, nor is it a diagnostic tool in any way. It is only to show examples of some of the symptoms associated with specific eating disorders. Not everyone suffering with an eating disorder will necessarily have all of these symptoms.

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizzy spells and fainting
  • Constipation and stomach pain
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Depression
  • Feeling cold
  • Muscle weakness
  • Secrecy when eating
  • Fluctuating Weight
  • Feeling of guilt and shame
  • Feeling out of control
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Vomiting
  • Tooth damage from stomach acid
  • Cracks around the side of mouth
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • A puffy face
  • A sore and inflamed throat
  • Electrolyte imbalance that may lead to:
    • Irregular heartbeats
    • Muscle weakness
    • Fluid imbalance
    • Kidney damage
    • Epileptic fits
    • Laxative abuse
    • Stomach pain
    • Bowel damage
    • Poor skin
    • Tiredness/lethargy

Those with Compulsive Eating problems also describe a feeling of being worthless and weak willed. They believe that their condition is not as worthy or traumatic as Anorexia or Bulimia. This may increase feelings of shame and lead to feelings of isolation and depression.

© Dr Hugh Herzig

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