Eating disorders are a fairly common, with an estimated 8 million Americans suffering from one of these diseases, of whom 7 million are women. But while it is more likely for a woman to have an eating disorder, that doesn't mean the male population should be overlooked — 10 to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia are men.
Because a large part of the U.S. population is dieting or has dieted in the past — including 80 percent of all women — it can often be difficult to determine whether or not somebody in your life suffers from an eating disorder. However, if you begin to suspect that a loved one is anorexic, there are all kinds of warning signs that you should be on the lookout for. If you notice any of these, you should advise them to seek counseling to help deal with the problem.
Here are a few warning signs of anorexia:
- Dental decay: For those with anorexia, there are physical issues that they might not have taken into consideration. The weakening of the bones, especially the teeth, can create all sorts of problems, not least of which will be teeth starting to fall out.
- Impact on skin: One of the most obvious signs that a person is anorexic is the appearance of their skin. If you notice that somebody's skin is starting to turn a yellow color and is much drier than usual, this could be the result of anorexia.
- Restricted food intake: Those with anorexia do eat, although what they consume is in very small portions. There is a fine line between sticking to a diet and starving yourself, which is why people often have difficulty recognizing this as a sign. If you do have your suspicions, be sure to more closely pay attention to how much food your loved one consumes during meals.
- Significant weight loss: Of course, what will probably be the way that most people notice an eating disorder is how quickly somebody loses weight. While weight loss is typical with a diet, dropping too much too fast is very bad for the body, and can lead to a whole host of physical issues. In addition to the aesthetic issues, such quick weight loss can result in anemia, bone density loss and heart palpitations.
If you or somebody you know is in need of treatment, contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today. Founded by Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef in 1989, our eating disorder and addiction treatment centers — including Dr. Pauline Powers, a highly accredited and nationally and internationally renowned expert on eating disorders — have used a unique dual diagnosis approach, combining clinical treatment with therapeutic counseling to uncover and treat the psychological triggers behind eating disorders, helping patients to overcome their eating disorder and get their lives back on track.