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5 Questions to Ask Someone Who Might Have an Eating Disorder

It can be hard to recognize if someone has an eating disorder. They can be underweight, overweight or even normal weight. They might show obvious behavioral, physical or psychological signs, or they might show none. It can be even harder when you’re not sure what to look for.

Whether the signs are obvious to the naked eye or not, eating disorders affect up to 30 million people in the United States across age and gender. And unfortunately, less than a third of people with eating disorders received treatment for a mental health problem in the past 12 months.

That’s why it is important that you know the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and how to approach someone who may be struggling.

There are 5 key signs that identify a person who may have an eating disorder. Ask these questions from the MHFA curriculum to help detect if a person in your life is developing or living with an eating disorder.

  1. Do you make yourself sick (induce vomiting) because you feel uncomfortably full?
  2. Do you worry that you have lost control over how much you eat?
  3. Have you recently lost more than 12 pounds in a three-month period?
  4. Do you think you are too fat, even though others say you are too thin?
  5. Would you say that food dominates your life?

For each “yes” answer, score one point. A total score of two or more indicates a likely eating disorder.

If you are still not sure if your loved one is living with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) helpline at 800-931-2237 for information and support.

You can also learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and other mental illnesses and addictions by getting trained in Mental Health First Aid. Get trained today and #BeTheDifference for the people in your life.