Do I have an Eating Disorder?

When confronted with media images of impossibly thin models and severely underweight celebrities it can be difficult to get a handle on what actually represents an ideal healthy body image. Given that obesity has been classified as bona fide epidemic and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating disorder are on the rise it’s hard not to focus on one’s own weight and appearance. There’s a good chance that you may feel that you are overweight or are considering dieting as a way to appear thinner but does this mean that you have an eating disorder?

Any online search will direct you to a number of quizzes or questionnaires designed to assess whether you are a candidate for having an eating disorder. If you are concerned that you may have an eating disorder, beware, no generic series of questions can accurately determine whether you are at risk. At best, online quizzes will point you in the right direction to getting help from a qualified professional who can make an informed assessment.

Below are a few points to consider that can provide a little perspective on what constitutes eating disordered behavior. Remember, these are only indicators and are not meant to substitute seeking the opinion of a mental health professional specializing in treating eating disorders.

If you currently are at a healthy weight but are considering altering your diet in order to appear skinny you could be exhibiting potentially eating disordered behavior. Given the large percentage of the general population that is regularly dieting it’s hard to determine when one has crossed the line and developed and eating disorder. Obsessive focus on weight and body image represent other signs that professionals look for. Additionally, underweight individuals who attempt to lose weight quickly or exercise excessively are likely candidates.

Some other common warning signs of eating disordered behavior include:

  • Anxiety associated with eating
  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Use of laxatives of diuretics
  • Self-induced vomiting
  • Feelings of guilt associated with eating
  • Depression
  • Daydreaming about food
  • View Rader Programs full list of signs and symptoms here

As indicated above, these are just indicators of a potential problem and do not represent a diagnosis of an eating disorder. Don’t let the above list of common symptoms add to your anxiety but consider it as a springboard for a serious exploration of whether you are on the verge of or suffering with an eating disorder. If you, or a loved one, are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek the opinion of a licensed professional who specializes in the comprehensive treatment of eating disorders.

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