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Wayne State College
Counseling Center
Student Center, Rm. 103
1111 Main St.
Wayne, NE 68787

Phone: 402.375.7321
Fax: 402.375.7058

 

 

Related Services  >   Eating Disorders  > Signs and Symptoms

 

Eating Disorders Links: | Signs and Symptoms | Relapse Warning |
| Causes| College Students | Definitions | Athletes | Getting Help |
| Self Test | Helicopter Story |

 

ANOREXIA NERVOSA

 

Anorexia nervosa has one of the highest death rates of any mental health condition and typically appears in early to mid-adolescence. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Dramatic weight loss.
  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, fat grams, and dieting.
  • Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g. no carbohydrates, etc.).
  • Frequent comments about feeling “fat” or overweight despite weight loss.
  • Anxiety about gaining weight or being “fat.”
  • Denial of hunger.
  • Development of food rituals (e.g. eating foods in certain orders, excessive chewing, rearranging food on a plate).
  • Consistent excuses to avoid mealtimes or situations involving food.
  • Excessive, rigid exercise regimen--despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury--the need to “burn off” calories taken in.
  • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities.
  • In general, behaviors and attitudes indicating that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns.

Anorexia nervosa involves self-starvation. The body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally, so it is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy. This “slowing down” can have serious medical consequences. Health consequences of Anorexia Nervosa can include:

  • Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, which mean that the heart muscle is changing. The risk for heart failure rises as heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower.
  • Reduction of bone density (osteoporosis), which results in dry, brittle bones.
  • Muscle loss and weakness.
  • Severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure.
  • Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness.
  • Dry hair and skin, hair loss is common.
  • Growth of a downy layer of hair called lanugo all over the body, including the face, in an effort to keep the body warm.

 

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BULIMIA NERVOSA

 

Many people struggling with bulimia nervosa recognize that their behaviors are unusual and perhaps dangerous to their health. Bulimia nervosa is frequently associated with symptoms of depression and changes in social adjustment. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Evidence of binge-eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or the existence of wrappers and containers indicating the consumption of large amounts of food.
  • Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, signs and/or smells of vomiting, presence of wrappers or packages of laxatives or diuretics.
  • Excessive, rigid exercise regimen - despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury - the need to “burn off” calories taken in.
  • Swollen glands in the neck and below the jaw.
  • Calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles from self-induced vomiting.
  • Discoloration or staining of the teeth.
  • Chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • Creation of complex lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge-and-purge sessions.
  • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities.
  • In general, behaviors and attitudes indicating that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns.

Bulimia nervosa can be extremely harmful to the body. The recurrent binge-and-purge cycles can impact the entire digestive system and purge behaviors can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions. Health consequences of Bulimia Nervosa:

  • Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death. Electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium and sodium from the body as a result of purging behaviors. Severe dehydration from purging of fluids can occur.
  • Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting.
  • Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder
  • Kidney problems from diuretic abuse
  • Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse.
  • Gastric rupture is an uncommon but possible side effect of binge eating.

 

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BINGE-EATING DISORDER

 

People who struggle with binge-eating disorder can be of normal or heavier than average weight. It is frequently associated with symptoms of depression and individuals struggling with binge-eating often express distress, shame, and guilt over their eating behaviors. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Eating until the point of discomfort or pain
  • Eating much more food during a binge episode than during a normal meal or snack
  • Eating faster during binge episodes
  • Feeling that their eating behavior is out of control
  • Frequent dieting without weight loss
  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating
  • Frequently eating alone
  • Hoarding food
  • Hiding empty food containers
  • Feeling depressed, disgusted or upset over the amount eaten
  • Depression or anxiety

The health risks of binge-eating disorder are most commonly those associated with clinical obesity. Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Gallbladder disease

 

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The WSC Counseling Center is located in the Student Center, Room 103. Please make an appointment by calling (402) 375-7321.

 

 

Sources:

 

© 2005 National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Permission is granted to copy and reprint materials for educational purposes only. National Eating Disorders Association must be cited and web address listed. www.NationalEatingDisorders.org - Information and Referral Helpline: 800.931.2237

 

National Institute of Mental Health: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml

 

MayoClinic.com: www.mayoclinic.com/

 

 

 

_________________________
Ron Vick, MA, LPC
Counselor / Academic Advisor
Int'l Student Advisor

 

 

 

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