The signs and symptoms of an eating disorder can be fairly difficult to discern. People with eating disorders don’t always look a certain way. It can be even more difficult to discover that you may have an eating disorder, especially when you don’t know what to ask. With help from the team at our eating disorder treatment facility in Indiana, we will identify some of the most common questions to ask about eating disorders to help people determine whether or not they might need help.
Frequently Asked Questions About Eating Disorders
Before diving into more detailed questions, it’s important to know some of the more commonly asked questions about eating disorders. Many of these questions are great primers and things you should understand before attempting to question yourself or a loved one about an eating disorder.
- What Are Eating Disorders?
- Are Eating Disorders Common?
- What Causes Eating Disorders?
- What Are the Differences Between the Most Common Eating Disorders?
Questions to Ask if You Believe You Have an Eating Disorder
Once you understand a few of the FAQs, it’s time to dive deeper into your condition. People with eating disorders exhibit extreme eating behaviors that can lead to major weight changes. If you question whether your relationship with food is positive, ask these five questions.
1. Am I Always Worrying About My Weight or Image?
While eating disorders can sometimes be appearance-related, they’re often a result of some deeper-rooted issue that causes extreme controlling behaviors regarding body size. That said, it’s important to dig up the issues under the surface and recognizing that you have a problem is the first step to addressing the issue.
2. Does It Sound Scary to Gain Weight?
Imagine yourself gaining about five pounds of weight. Does it scare you? Eating disorders affect your ability to distinguish the harmlessness of weight fluctuations and the fact that it’s common to lose or gain a few pounds here or there. If you’re obsessed with the scale or reacting to every daily change, it might be a major cause for concern.
3. How Often Do I Track My Calories?
If you find yourself excessively tracking calories each day, fighting to avoid a small snack or meal here and there, or staying far below your maintenance calories, it might be time for professional help.
4. Do I Find it Difficult to Eat Around Others?
Eating disorders can make you so fearful of gaining weight or receiving judgment for eating too much or too little that it causes you to be afraid to eat around others. If you refuse food around others, order less than you crave, or worry excessively about the opinions of others, it might be time to get help.
5. Do I Find Myself Exercising Hard and Pushing Myself Too Far?
A telltale sign of a mental health issue is if you exercise extremely hard or push yourself further than your body allows. You shouldn’t feel the need to force yourself to work through injuries or push yourself past limits, and you especially shouldn’t ignore speaking to someone about it.
6. Questions to Ask if You Suspect Someone You Love Might Have an Eating Disorder
If someone you love might have an eating disorder, you’ve likely noticed a few signs and questionable behavior towards food intake. You might even see the person inducing vomiting or forcing themselves to abstain from eating an adequate amount of calories daily. While the best way to get help is to contact a treatment facility like Selah House, you can also help someone by asking them a few questions about their relationship with food.
7. Do You Force Yourself to Vomit if You Feel Full?
Usually, people trying to rid themselves of food avoid doing it in areas where it’s noticeable. If you’re trying to identify whether someone you know has a health problem, having them admit that they force themselves into purging behaviors like vomiting is an important first step.
8. Do You Feel Saddened or Guilty After Eating?
Someone who negatively associates food may struggle with regular meals and snacks. Ask the person if they feel uncomfortable or sad when they eat and what they think about the fact that they have to eat food. This can give you both an understanding the underlying reason.
9. Do You Think You’re Too Fat, Even if Others Think You’re Thin?
Ask the person about what others say about their weight. People with an eating disorder view themselves as fat or unhealthy while constantly hearing others say they’re relatively slim. Someone who always receives compliments or comments about how thin they are but still believes that they are overweight has clear issues with their image.
10. Have People Expressed Concerns About the Relationship You Have With Food?
Sometimes, there’s no better source than the people around you. Even when the individual isn’t aware of their behavior, people around them might notice a few scary changes. If people have raised concerns about the person’s relationship with food, it’s a huge sign that unconscious thoughts and behaviors are taking over their minds.
11. Do You Feel Like Food Is Dominating Your Life?
Obsessing over anything is usually not a good thing, which certainly applies to an obsession over avoiding or consuming food. If the person feels like food is taking control of their lives, it might be time to get professional help.
Bonus Question: 12. How Do I Help Someone Who Is Struggling With an Eating Disorder?
Recognizing that someone you care about may be struggling with an eating disorder is a challenging situation. Your support and understanding can play a crucial role in their journey to recovery. Here are some steps you can take to help:
- Express Your Concern: Approach the person with empathy and express your genuine concern for their well-being. Choose a private and non-confrontational setting to have an open conversation.
- Educate Yourself: Learn about eating disorders, their causes, and the available treatments. This knowledge will help you better understand what the person is going through and provide informed support.
- Encourage Professional Help: Suggest seeking professional assistance from a healthcare provider or an eating disorder treatment center like Selah House. Offer to assist in finding resources or accompany them to appointments.
- Avoid Judgement: It’s essential to approach the situation with compassion and avoid passing judgment. Understand that eating disorders are complex mental health conditions, and recovery is a gradual process.
- Listen Actively: Create a safe space for the person to share their feelings and experiences. Be an active listener, and avoid offering solutions or advice unless they ask for it.
- Offer Emotional Support: Let the person know that you are there for them, and offer emotional support throughout their recovery journey. Reassure them that seeking help is a courageous step, and they don’t have to face it alone.
- Promote Healthy Conversations: Encourage open communication about their emotions, fears, and struggles. Reinforce the importance of seeking help and remind them that recovery is possible with the right support.
- Be Patient: Recovery takes time, and setbacks may occur. Be patient, understanding, and continue offering support even if progress is slow. Celebrate small victories and milestones along the way.
- Involve Other Loved Ones: If appropriate, involve other friends or family members in the support process. Creating a network of understanding individuals can provide additional encouragement.
- Educate Others: Help raise awareness about eating disorders and reduce stigma by educating others. This can contribute to a more supportive environment for those struggling with these challenges.
With a Treatment Facility Like Selah House, You Can Heal
Eating disorders aren’t something you should play around with. If you’ve gotten to a point where you suspect you have an eating disorder or that someone you know might be struggling with an eating disorder, it’s important to get the appropriate help. With Selah House, you can learn about the health consequences of binge eating disorders and have all your questions answered while getting the best treatment possible. If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs and symptoms of an eating disorder, contact Selah House today at 765.442.3551 or complete our contact form.