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Do I Have An Eating Disorder Quiz: Understanding The Signs

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Do I Have An Eating Disorder Quiz: Understanding The Signs

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • An eating disorder is a serious medical condition that affects food choices and eating behaviors. It can be managed through therapy, patient education, and sometimes medication. 
  • Our eating disorder quiz isn’t a diagnostic tool and can’t confirm an eating disorder. However, the questions can help you better understand your relationship with food and eating. 
  • If you suspect you have an eating disorder, reach out to your doctor for a formal assessment.

Eating disorders are complex medical illnesses affecting your emotional and physical well-being.

There are several different types of eating disorders, but they all affect your eating behaviors. 

Some types of eating disorders are restrictive, such as anorexia nervosa.

Others are linked with overeating and intense emotional distress, such as binge eating disorder

Our eating disorder quiz can help you understand your eating decisions and relationship with food.

If you answer yes to these questions, you should follow up with your healthcare team for supportive next steps. 

What Is An Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is defined as the disruption of eating behaviors associated with distressing thoughts and emotions.

There are several different eating disorders, and collectively, they can affect up to 5% of all Americans. 

Research suggests that eating disorders are caused by several interactions, including genetics, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. Below are examples of each risk factor.  

Genetics

Biological 

Such as:

  • Altered brain chemistry
  • Other health conditions 
  • Gender—females assigned at birth tend to be high-risk

Psychological 

Such as:

  • Perfectionism
  • Impulsivity
  • Cognitive inflexibility
  • Body image dissatisfaction

Social factors 

Such as:

  • Being teased or bullied
  • Experiencing trauma 
  • Weight stigma

Contact your doctor if you suspect you have an eating disorder.

They can thoroughly assess you, and together, you can develop a plan to address any health concerns so you feel your best.

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Types of Eating Disorders 

The Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) recently broadened eating disorders to feeding and eating disorders so physicians can accurately deliver a diagnosis that captures symptoms and behaviors.

There are currently eight categories listed in the DSM-5. 

  1. Anorexia nervosa: calorie restriction caused by an intense fear of gaining weight.  
  2. Bulimia nervosa: bouts of overeating followed by purging practices (vomiting, extreme exercising, etc.) 
  3. Binge-eating disorder: frequently consuming large volumes of food without the ability to stop. Binge episodes are often associated with distress. 
  4. Avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder: selective eating and limited food consumption (more severe than picky eating.) 
  5. Pica: eating things that aren’t typically considered food (dirt, grass, etc.) 
  6. Rumination: repeatedly regurgitating undigested foods and chewing them again (or spitting them out).  
  7. Unspecified feeding and eating disorders: distressing eating behaviors that don’t clinically qualify as the disorders mentioned above. 
  8. Unspecified feeding and eating disorders: distressing eating behaviors that don’t clinically qualify as the disorders mentioned above. 
  • Purging disorder: recurrent purging in the absence of a binge. 
  • Night eating disorder: waking up during the night to eat (even after having dinner).  
  • Atypical anorexia nervosa: people living with larger bodies lose weight due to anorexia behaviors and are now in the “healthy” body mass index (BMI) range.  
  • Orthorexia: avoiding specific foods perceived to be harmful (non-organic, filled with GMOs, etc.)  
  • Subthreshold bulimia and binge eating disorder: mixed symptoms of binging, purging, and fear of gaining weight. 

Signs of an Eating Disorder

All eating disorders have unique signs, but some characteristics are shared. These include:

  • A preoccupation with thoughts about food. 
  • Emotional distress linked with eating behaviors. 
  • Perfectionism. 
  • Impulsivity. 
  • Obsessive-compulsiveness.
  • Noticeable personality changes, such as being withdrawn. 

Other behaviors are highly individualized and specific to each type of eating disorder.

For example, focusing on outer appearances and weight may be a symptom of anorexia. While having a fear of eating unhealthy foods is more typical of orthorexia.  

Physical Symptoms 

Physical symptoms of an eating disorder vary per condition, and it can be impossible to tell if someone has an eating disorder based on their appearance. 

Physical symptoms that may indicate an eating disorder include: 

  • Weight changes.
  • Brittle hair or weak nails due to calorie restriction. 
  • Worn tooth enamel caused by frequent purging. 
  • Intestinal distress (changes in bowel routine, stomach cramping or pain, bloating, etc.) 

Taking the Quiz: Am I Struggling with an Eating Disorder?

Take your time answering these questions.

There are no wrong answers, and you can keep your results private. 

Answering yes to a question doesn’t automatically mean you have an eating disorder.

The diagnostic process is comprehensive and must be done by a trained professional, ideally a physician. 

Whether you answer yes or no, you can still follow up with your doctor or dietitian to address any concerns about your eating habits.

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1. Do you constantly think about food, weight, or body image? 

Thinking about food and its connection to body weight or body image may be a sign of an eating disorder, especially if these thoughts directly influence your food choices.

Examples of these thoughts include: 

  • I’m hungry, but I’m going to drink water instead of eating. 
  • I just ate, but I’m already worried about my next meal. 
  • I’m scared eating this cookie will make me gain weight

2. Do you restrict certain types of food? 

You may be practicing restrictive eating if you avoid entire food groups, energy-dense foods, processed or ultra-processed foods—or anything that makes you anxious or guilty after eating. 

Restrictive practices can worsen disordered eating behaviors, which can increase the risk of developing an eating disorder. 

3. Do you binge eat or feel out of control around food? 

Feeling out of control around food can be anxiety-provoking, distressing, and very difficult to manage.

After binging, people may feel guilty and restrict their future meals to avoid eating more food. 

Know that these are telltale signs of binge eating disorders, and treatment options are available to help you gain control of food, including medication, DBT therapy, and nutrition support. 

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4. Do you frequently engage in purging behaviors, such as vomiting or using laxatives?

Purging behaviors attempt to rid the body of calories.

They include vomiting, laxatives (medications that promote bowel movements), and excessive exercise. These behaviors can be dangerous if left unaddressed. 

5. Do you avoid social situations that involve food? 

Limiting exposure to social situations involving food may indicate a strained relationship between food and eating. 

You may feel self-conscious that others are watching you eat (common in anorexia), making it difficult to relax and preventing you from enjoying the event. 

6. Are you constantly comparing yourself to others' bodies?

Comparing yourself to others and criticizing your body is a form of negative self-talk and may be a precursor to an eating disorder.

These thoughts are hurtful but can be improved through mental health counseling. 

7. Have you experienced significant changes in weight or body shape recently? 

Significant changes to your body shape may indicate an eating disorder, especially if there is a fixation on weight loss or body image.

Your dietitian can review your nutritional intake and health motivations to understand your behaviors better.  

8. Do you feel guilty or ashamed after eating certain foods? 

Sometimes, people feel bad after eating a particular food, but eventually, they move on.

However, if you spend hours or even days feeling guilty after eating, you may need to address these thought patterns because feeling preoccupied with your intake may increase your risk of an eating disorder. 

9. Do you frequently weigh yourself?

Frequently weighing yourself may increase the risk of disordered eating and eating disorders.

Research has demonstrated that people who weigh themselves are more likely to make harmful dieting choices based on the number on the scale, such as skipping meals or restricting calories. 

Interpreting Your Results

The results of this quiz can’t confirm an eating disorder.

However, if you answered yes, you may want to follow up with your doctor.

A formal assessment isn’t scary.

During your appointment, your physician will review your health, address your concerns, and may ask you to complete blood testing.

Once they’ve collected all your vital information, you’ll work together to create a care plan that fits your needs. 

If you enjoy reflecting on your relationship with food, you may find it insightful to continue exploring these thoughts through journaling.

You don’t have to show your notes to anyone, but you can bring these notes to your future nutrition appointments. 

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Takeaway

An eating disorder is a severe medical condition, but with the proper support, you can improve your relationship with food. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, ask your care team to help you address critical concerns linked with an eating disorder.

These may include: 

  • Weight concerns.
  • Preoccupied thoughts about food.
  • Binging episodes.
  • Comparing yourself to others.
  • Avoiding social situations involving food.
  • Feeling guilty after eating.
  • Purging behaviors.

How a Dietitian Can Help

It’s common to include a dietitian specializing in eating disorders in your care team, and they work alongside mental health counselors, physicians, and other qualified staff. 

You can find a dietitian through Nourish to start your healing journey—all appointments are online and covered by most insurance providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of an eating disorder?

There are several types of eating disorders, but common traits include: 

  • A preoccupation with thoughts about food. 
  • Emotional distress linked with eating behaviors. 
  • Perfectionism. 
  • Impulsivity. 
  • Obsessive-compulsiveness.
  • Noticeable personality changes, such as being withdrawn. 

Physical signs may include: 

  • Weight changes.
  • Brittle hair or weak nails due to calorie restriction. 
  • Worn enamel caused by frequent purging. 
  • Intestinal distress (changes in bowel routine, stomach cramping or pain, bloating, etc.)

What are examples of disordered eating?

Disordered eating behaviors include restrictive eating practices (such as dieting), intentionally skipping meals, binge eating, and only eating certain things.

These behaviors fall outside of the “normal” eating patterns, but generally, they aren’t severe enough to be an eating disorder. 

However, disordered eating practices can increase your risk of eating disorders, and a registered dietitian should address you.

What are the main types of eating disorders?

Per the DSM-5, there are currently eight main types of feeding and eating disorders: 

  1. Anorexia nervosa.  
  2. Bulimia nervosa.
  3. Binge-eating disorder.
  4. Avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder.
  5. Pica.
  6. Rumination.
  7. Other specified feeding and eating disorders (purging disorder, night eating disorder, atypical anorexia, orthorexia, subthreshold bulimia, and binge eating disorder.)  
  8. Unspecified feeding and eating disorders.

References

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