5 Signs Your Friend May Have an Eating Disorder

September 27, 2019 0 By April Kirkwood

Suspecting that someone very dear to us has an eating disorder can be incredibly upsetting.
Sometimes the physical evidence of a condition such as this can cause alarm and leave us wondering what to do. It is crucial, however, to be 100% sure that your friend does indeed have a
condition before you approach them about it. If you do decide to talk to them about it, do plenty of research on how to approach the situation


The voice of the eating disorder will be incredibly nasty to your friend, which is what creates such an unhelpful relationship with food. This, in turn, will cause them to withdraw from situations that involve food or potentially even other social occasions. The shame of not being able to engage with certain situations can be hugely hurtful to them, so do try not to bring up their frequent absences if you can. 

2. Mood swings

The mood swings that come with an eating disorder aren’t just the usual fluctuations in temper that we all experience from time to time. These changes in mood are often born out of frustration and distress, and so they may be noticeably more intense than usual. Being more defensive and reactive to specific comments could be one of the first indicators that something is wrong. 

3. Skin and dental issues

The methods used to lose weight in an eating disorder can be incredibly damaging to the skin. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that many of these symptoms may be covered with makeup. Your friend may be conscious of any rosacea, dry skin, or tooth erosion that may come as a direct result of these methods. Don’t, whatever you do, comment on these issues. While you may believe you are helping or bringing these problems to light, you may kick-start an unhelpful thought spiral. 

4. Avoiding situations where food is concerned

Group meals out or date nights are some of life’s great pleasures; however, for someone with an eating disorder, these can be very upsetting situations to be in. Overcoming this obstacle may also require more support. Treatment centers such as Eden Treatment are ideal for someone who is struggling to develop a positive relationship with food. 

5. Over-exercising

Those who are developing an eating disorder may start to engage with an unhealthy fixation with exercising on a regular basis. You may notice that they are working out more than the average person would at any given week, or can’t bear the thought of not completing an established routine. 

If you do suspect that your friend has an eating disorder, be careful with how you decide to approach the issue. It’s important that you don’t address it with an accusatory tone, or mention their physical appearance (i.e., their weight or condition of their skin). Instead, it is wise to take a measured approach and be open to listening to their struggles. Suggesting professional help is one of the best approaches you can take. 

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