Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog

Know the signs: How to help someone with an eating disorder

Do you believe someone you love has an eating disorder? Parents, siblings, friends and significant others all play a key role in the supporting and navigating alongside your loved one on their journey. The first step in supporting them is learning more about eating disorders and becoming equipped to encourage them on their recovery journey. Explore these questions to learn more about eating disorders and how to support someone who may be facing one.

What are the different types of eating disorders?

An important step in supporting someone who may have an eating disorder is knowing the signs and symptoms. No two eating disorders are the same, but people facing an eating disorder often exhibit one or more of these symptoms. At Castlewood Treatment Center, we believe that each client’s disorder defies simple categorization. Eating disorders happen on a spectrum. While some clients may be formally diagnosed with one of the disorders below, many experience a subtle combination of these symptoms and signs. Symptoms of Anorexia
  • Over-exercising
  • Severe restriction of caloric intake
  • Using diet pills, diuretics or laxatives
  • Unusually poor self-esteem
  • Frequent excuses for not eating
  • Showing fear of food
  • Purging
  • Inability to eat in front of others
  • Anxiety
  • Low body weight
Symptoms of Bulimia
  • Evidence of vomiting or laxative use
  • Anger
  • Purging
  • Shame
  • Binging
  • Unusual self-criticism and low self-esteem
  • Visits to the bathroom after meals
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent and intensive periods of exercise
  • Depression
  • Guilt
Symptoms of Binge Eating
  • Eating more rapidly than normal
  • Feeling severe guilt after bingeing
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Severe mood swings
  • Constant attempts at dieting
  • Anxiety
  • Eating to the point of feeling painful discomfort
  • Depression
Learn about different signs and symptoms of eating disorders here.

Who gets an eating disorder?

More than 30 million Americans will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their life. Both men and women suffer from eating disorders, and all types of people from different parts of life are affected. Research finds that there are predispositions to eating disorders. When a predisposition occurs in tandem with a trigger or stressor, an eating disorder may develop. Eating disorders are not a choice. The causes are complex and unique to each individual. The National Eating Disorder Association notes that risk factors for eating disorders can be biological, psychological or social. Biological Risk Factors
  • Having a close relative with an eating disorder
  • Having a close relative with a mental illness
  • History of dieting
  • Negative energy balance
  • Type one diabetes
Psychological Risk Factors
  • Perfectionism
  • Body image dissatisfaction
  • Personal history of an anxiety disorder
  • Behavioral inflexibility
  • Depression or anxiety
Social Risk Factors  
  • Size and weight prejudice
  • Weight-based teasing or bullying
  • Thin ideal internalization
  • LGBTQ
  • Acculturation
  • Smaller social networks
Discover more about what causes eating disorders.

How can I help my loved one with an eating disorder?

If someone you love has an eating disorder, you may experience a range of emotions from fear and guilt to sadness and anger. Know that you are not alone. Your loved one is also not alone. Encourage your loved one to seek help. This can be a delicate task, but it is necessary for the future well-being of your loved one. When you discuss seeking help with your loved one, remember to empathize with what they are experiencing. Reiterate your love and concern for them. Offer to reach out to make the first call. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating the best treatment facility for your loved one. Eating disorders are not one-size-fits-all . . . and treatment shouldn't be either. Recovery is possible, and recovery starts at Castlewood. Clients come to Castlewood when they need intentional and intensive treatment. Castlewood approaches recovery by getting to the core of eating disorders. Our integrated eating disorder treatment builds independence and restores hope. At Castlewood, your story is at the center of your recovery. If you are ready to reach out for or with your loved one, Castlewood is here to help. Call us today for a confidential assessment at 877-794-8233.