Some early signs of an eating disorder are more obvious than others. These are the signs to look out for in yourself or a loved one.

What Are the Early Signs of an Eating Disorder?

Do you or a family suffer from an eating disorder?

Common eating disorders often develop in privacy, hidden away by shame and secrecy, but they can start early signs and can be devastating, both personally and to health overall.

If you suspect that someone you know is being affected by an eating disorder, or turning away from life because they hurt, they might need to talk. There are many resources available, so never hesitate to call your doctor, your parents, a friend, or a hotline if you need to.

Childhood is supposed to be joyous, but if you’re feeling like you need to go it alone, there will always be someone willing to listen.

So, let’s explore the early signs of an eating disorder that can show up.


Extreme Mood Swings

They may regret their decisions after the fact, or be overly critical of their environment and the people around them. They may come across as assertive or aggressive, have difficulty regulating their emotions, or appear disinterested in their own lives and health.

See this psychotherapy page for professional help and support to learn more healthy coping strategies and develop new relationships with food.

Cramps in the Stomach

It can differ from person to person, from light discomfort to stronger pain which can feel like twisting or squeezing in the stomach. For some, these cramps may happen after eating.

Stomach cramps can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as constipation, bloating, and nausea. Early intervention of an eating disorder is important in order to help a person proactively address the problem.


It occurs when the body is in a state of shock due to a lack of energy and nutrients, resulting in a blackout. Fainting can also indicate a situation of severe dehydration in the body due to improper nutritional intake.

It also points to other serious underlying medical issues such as heart problems or diseases. It is important to see a medical professional right away if one experiences frequent fainting episodes in relation to an eating disorder.

Weakness of Muscles

Having difficulty performing everyday tasks and noticing a decline in strength and muscle tone. You may feel pain in your muscles and joints where you previously felt none.

Weakness of muscles, accompanied by other eating disorder symptoms, should be seriously taken as an indicator of an eating disorder and should be discussed with a healthcare professional for a detailed assessment.

Withdrawal From Social Activities

Isolating themselves from activities they normally enjoy, such as sports, clubs, or school. Another sign to look out for is a sudden lack of interest in hobbies, events, and activities.

Also, if a person becomes uncharacteristically quiet and introverted, isolating themselves in their room. This can also be accompanied by a sudden lack of motivation, another sign that something may be wrong. 

Recognizing the Early Signs of an Eating Disorder

It is now clear to you that these early signs of an eating disorder can be hard to identify and should not be taken lightly. If you or someone that you know is exhibiting any of the signs described above, reach out to a professional for help and resources.

There is still hope in reclaiming control over our bodies and minds, and it starts with finding the right help and support.

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