Skip to main content

Is it an eating disorder?

The warning signs of eating disorders are sometimes hard to detect, especially since behaviors are often intentionally kept hidden. Some eating disorder symptoms to watch for include dramatic calorie reduction, purging behaviors, uncontrollable overeating, and/or unrelenting distress about body weight and shape. The Emily Program treats all types of eating disorders in people of all ages and genders.

What is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is a complex mental health condition that profoundly affects an individual’s relationship with food and body image. It encompasses a range of disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. These are not just about food but involve emotional and psychological aspects, leading to unhealthy eating behaviors and severe distress about body weight and shape.

Eating disorders are characterized by extreme disturbances in eating habits and can manifest as excessive food restriction, binge eating, or purging behaviors. They are serious and potentially life-threatening conditions that impact people of all ages, genders, and races. That is why it is important to know the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder so that they can be detected early.

It’s crucial to recognize that eating disorders are more than just a phase or a lifestyle choice. They are serious mental health conditions requiring professional intervention. Early detection and treatment can make a significant difference in recovery outcomes.

Know the signs and symptoms of eating disorders

An eating disorder, such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, is a mental illness that affects an individual’s eating habits and can cause severe distress about body weight and shape. A person’s disturbed eating patterns may include inadequate nutrition or periods of excessive food intake. Eating disorders are serious, potentially deadly conditions that can affect any age, gender, or race. If you or someone you love is struggling with food, schedule an eating disorder assessment with The Emily Program today or call us at 1-888-364-5977 for real help. And real hope.


Eating disorder signs and symptoms

Eating disorders affect a person physically, behaviorally, emotionally, and psychologically. Prominent signs of an eating disorder include:

  • Dramatic weight gain or loss

  • Frequently talking about food, weight, and shape

  • Rapid or persistent decline or increase in food intake

  • Excessive or compulsive exercise patterns

  • Purging, restricting, binge eating, or compulsive eating

  • Abuse of diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, or emetics

  • Denial of food and eating problems, despite the concerns of others

  • Eating in secret, hiding food, disrupting meals, or feeling out of control with food

  • Medical complications, such as menstrual irregularity, dizziness, fainting, bruising, dry skin, leg cramps, hair loss, brittle hair, osteoporosis, diarrhea, constipation, dental problems, diabetes, chest pain, heart disease, heartburn, shortness of breath, organ failure, and other serious symptoms

Understanding and recognizing the early signs of an eating disorder is a critical step in seeking timely and effective treatment. Early detection of eating disorder symptoms can significantly alter the course of recovery, offering a greater chance for a healthier future. When individuals and their loved ones are educated about the signs of an eating disorder, they are better equipped to seek help before the condition progresses. This proactive approach not only mitigates the severe physical and psychological impacts but also addresses the underlying issues that contribute to the disorder.

It’s essential to take any warning signs seriously and consider them as a prompt to seek professional guidance. Early intervention is a powerful tool in the journey toward healing and recovery, emphasizing the importance of vigilance and responsiveness to the initial indicators of an eating disorder.

man smiling

Boys and men struggle with food, too

Research shows that 10–25% of the individuals experiencing an eating disorder are male. However, men tend to express their concerns in distinct ways. For example, men may say they want to lose weight to decrease body fat, while women may talk about losing weight to be thin. Men may want to increase muscle mass; women may become smaller. Restricted nutritional intake and over-exercising are common eating disorder symptoms among males.

Eating Disorders Treated By The Emily Program

The Emily Program offers a comprehensive range of personalized eating disorder treatment options meticulously crafted to address various eating disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. Our approach is designed to cater to the unique needs of each individual, providing a supportive and nurturing environment conducive to recovery.

For individuals struggling with anorexia nervosa, characterized by an intense fear of weight gain and a distorted body image, The Emily Program provides comprehensive treatment. Our approach is designed to guide individuals toward recovery, addressing the complex psychological aspects of this disorder.

We also specialize in treating bulimia nervosa, a disorder marked by cycles of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting (purging) or excessive exercise. Our treatment plans for bulimia nervosa focus on interrupting these cycles and addressing the underlying emotional and psychological factors.

Our treatment services extend to those dealing with binge eating disorder, characterized by episodes of excessive food consumption often triggered by negative emotions and a perceived lack of control over eating. We provide a supportive environment where individuals can learn to manage these triggers and develop healthier eating habits.

Additionally, we offer care for compulsive overeating, where individuals engage in frequent episodes of excessive eating unrelated to physical hunger. This condition can lead to weight gain and additional health concerns, and our treatment plans are tailored to address these challenges.

Our facility also provides treatment for conditions like OSFED (Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder) and ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder), ensuring a comprehensive approach to eating disorder care.

The Emily Program offers a spectrum of services, including residential treatment, partial hospitalization programming (PHP)/intensive day programming (IDP), intensive outpatient (IOP), and outpatient. These options cater to every stage of the recovery journey, ensuring continuity of care and support.

Get help. Find hope.