Eating disorders: What to watch for From Spotlight on Health - Winter 2012
As many as 10 million females and 1 million males in the United States struggle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. More than half of teenage girls and nearly a third of teenage boys use unhealthy behaviors such as smoking cigarettes, taking laxatives, vomiting, fasting or skipping meals to control weight.
While eating disorders have increased throughout the years, it is not always evident that someone has one based solely on appearance. A person with anorexia may conceal his or her weight loss by wearing baggy clothing. Someone who is bulimic often has normal or slightly above-normal weight. Only a small percentage actually appear to be extremely underweight.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Decreased concentration, energy, muscle function, coordination and speed;
- Light-headedness and dizziness;
- Abdominal pain;
- Increased impatience, crankiness;
- Dramatic weight loss;
- Preoccupation with weight and food consumption;
- Often stating they feel “fat”;
- Maintaining a rigid exercise program;
- Lots of empty wrappers indicating consumption of large amounts of food; or
- Skipping meals.
Identifying an eating disorder early is critical to having a full recovery. If you suspect you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder and need help, call St. Cloud Hospital Behavioral Health Services - Eating Disorders program at (320) 229-4918.
St. Cloud Hospital Behavioral Health Eating Disorders Program