Eating Disorders Home > Symptoms of Eating Disorders

The type of eating disorder a person has will affect the signs and symptoms a person experiences. However, common symptoms of eating disorders include avoiding food, vomiting to get rid of food just eaten, and compulsive overeating. It's important to note that other medical conditions can share symptoms often seen with eating disorders.

An Introduction to the Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders symptoms can vary, depending on the eating disorder in question (anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder).
 

Eating Disorders Symptoms: Anorexia Nervosa

People who have anorexia nervosa usually have the following symptoms:
 
  • Unusual eating habits, such as avoiding food and meals
  • Picking out a few foods and eating them in small amounts
  • Weighing their food
  • Counting the calories of everything they eat
  • Exercising excessively.
     

Symptoms of Eating Disorders: Bulimia Nervosa

People who have bulimia nervosa eat an excessive amount of food in a single episode and almost immediately make themselves vomit or use laxatives or diuretics (water pills) to get rid of the food in their bodies. This behavior often is referred to as the "binge/purge" cycle.
 
Like people with anorexia, people with bulimia have an intense fear of gaining weight.
 

Symptoms of Eating Disorders: Binge-Eating Disorder

People with binge-eating disorder have frequent episodes of compulsive overeating; however, unlike those with bulimia, they do not purge their bodies of food. During these food binges, they often eat alone and quickly, regardless of whether they feel hungry or full. They often feel shame or guilt over their actions.
 
Unlike anorexia and bulimia, binge-eating disorder occurs almost as often in men as in women.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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