Kristi L Shohet, MS, LCPC, CEDS

"Nothing is predestined: The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that 
lead to new beginnings."

-- Ralph Blum

NEDA helpline - 

Call our toll-free, confidential Helpline, Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (EST): 2014 Holiday Closures


Definitions & Characteristics

Warning signs may be difficult to tease out due to societal and cultural standards of beauty and normal weight and size. That being the case, often times eating disorders go unnoticed, or individuals "fly under the radar," for an extended period of time. The following is a list of indicators that should be evaluated when such behaviors become a normal part of one's everyday routine. 

  • Reduced/skipped meals or overeating 
  • Ritualistic eating (rules, makes excuses for behavior, no appetite, etc.)
  • Limits food choices
  • Gradually removes proteins and fats from diet
  • Frequent teeth brushing and showering
  • Awareness that packages of food are missing
  • Use of diuretics or appetite suppressants
  • Frequent dieting
  • Unusual body image remarks and complaints about size
  • Wears baggy clothes and/or in layers
  • Overly critical about body 
  • Dissatisfied with any amount of weight loss
  • Spends extended periods of time in front of mirror
  • Excessive weighing
  • Excessive and rigid exercise routine regardless of injury
  • Forgoes personal obligations to increase work-out time
  • Easily aroused if s/he has to sit for extended periods of time
  • Uses sport-aids high in caffeine to increase fat burning process
  • Thinks in unrealistic and irrational manner
  • Perfectionist regarding expectations and stops at nothing until goals are achieved 
  • Problem concentrating
  • Obsesses about food intake while counting numbers (calories) in their head
  • Uses starvation as a means of punishment
  • Exhibits suicidal ideations (sometimes unconscious)
  • Denies sensation of anger or fear, yet easily agitated and overwhelmed
  • Denies self pleasure Withdraws socially from friends and family
  • Feels unworthy, anxious, depressed, guilty and incapable of measuring up
  • May engage in self-harm measures (cutting, purging, etc.)
  • Overtly a "people-pleaser"
  • Overly dependent/independent Sexually promiscuous/lacks sexual interest
  • Craves intimacy yet steers clear of it
A combination of these symptoms may require professional attention.  When exhibited concurrently with other conditions (e.g., substance abuse, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder, etc.) it may be necessary to contact a professional.