Eating disorders, like bulimia, pose a real threat to the well-being of the individual. Early detection by a parent or close friend and a clear treatment plan may well save the lives of those affected by this eating disorder. Do You Recognize The 7 Early Warning Signs of Bulimia?

Poor Body Image

The first type of sign to look for are emotional and attitude. The first sign is: Poor body image. The person will likely see themselves as being obese whether or not it is true. They will often consider themselves unattractive and may pay undue attention to any perceived changes in their body. Secondly, Feelings of guilt or shame about eating. This may or may not follow a binge event. The person may have the shameful feeling even when eating a normal meal. The third sign to look for is Depression or anger: There are many causes of depression and anger, but taken as a factor with other signs, this too can be a sign of bulimia.

Binge Eating

The next group of signs are behavioral and might be noticed at the literal or figurative dinner table with the fourth sign being Binge eating. The affected person may eat large portions of food, or refill their plate more than is normal. They may eat a few nutritious items and then go to the extreme with rich fatty foods and sweet decadent deserts. Fifthly, watch for seclusion, especially after meals. The effected person may slip away from the table or make excuses to be alone. This behavior might be related to the emotional issues mentioned earlier, or to purging behavior as explained next.


The final group of signs is what that the layperson is probably most familiar with, that is, purging. The sixth and possibly most obvious sign is forced vomiting. Especially common after a binge eating event, a person suffering from bulimia often gags themselves to eliminate the food that they have just eaten. This is dangerous as it damages the esophagus and dental enamel. There may be a recognizable odor to the person’s breath. The seventh and final sign is a dangerous more subtle form of purging, Laxative abuse. Similar to force vomiting, some bulimia sufferers will ingest a high dose of a laxative to force their body to pass the food without absorbing the calories or nutrients. The laxative is not selective about what it forces to pass, so a person will lose out on most of their nutrients and may even become dehydrated. A person exhibiting these signs should be evaluated by a qualified professional immediately.